British legislation endangers
authentic Ayurveda practice

New Policy endangers the authenticity of Ayurvedic practice and provides economic benefits to those who do not recognize the Hindu roots of this system, argues Anuja Prashar

The key issue, arising from the changing governance structures within the Ayurvedic world in the UK is a challenge to retaining the link between the Hindu philosophy and Ayurvedic practice and teaching. A separation of practice and teaching of Ayurveda from it's ancient Vedic roots would lead to a dilution of Ayurvedic intellectual property and the lowering of standards of Ayurvedic practice in the west. The new Herbal working group, appointed by UK's Department of health, is a sub committee of the Council that regulates Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Traditional herbal medicine. Thus the new Ayurvedic herbal working group sits under and not separated from the governance of European and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Under the control of the EHPA (European Herbal Practitioners Association) chaired by Micheal McIntyre, there are some key players that will now monitor and influence the education and practice of Ayurveda, under the current proposed scheme of the UK Health department's newly appointed Herbal working group. The APA (Ayurvedic Practitioners Association) is also identified as key stakeholders for the Department of Health's proposed Herbal working group. APA recently formed group by Nigel Hubber, is made up of western Ayurvedic practitioners who do not recognize the Hindu origins of Ayurveda. The AMA (Ayurvedic Medical Association) is another such group run by Mauroof Mohammed Athik and which also does not recognize the Hindu roots of Ayurveda.

European herbal medicine is not equivalent to Ayurveda because European herbal medicine relies upon wholly bio medical parameters. Where as Ayurveda and the Pancha Tantra system are a holistic approach and completely different in practice and substance. At stake also with these changes is the livelihood of 500,000 Ayurvedic doctors in India, who spend five and half years in training for their degrees, and all the associated herbal suppliers and Ayurvedic industry. The Indian Doctors would be competing with 'practitioners' who will be able to use the Ayurvedic brand, having acquired diplomas and certificates from a six month study programme, without any authentication from India and the real Ayurvedic practitioners in the West, who are all schooled in the authentic Sanskrit and holistic medical system.

To retain authenticity and the lowest price in the global political economy of the 21st Century, it is important to have a factual understanding of this rapidly growing health care tradition, which is very popular, and in public demand. A fair and effective regulation for any medical system can only be designed by experts who have in-depth knowledge of the specifications of the concerned system. At present no Hindu practitioner of Ayurveda is represented on the new regulatory bodies within the UK (Source : Internet) (Disclaimer: All details, thoughts and opinions shared by the writers in this article, are their own and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or management of this monthly.)