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Ayurvedic, Unani Medicine Catching Up In England

England has a sizeable Asian population, the majority of who are from the Indian sub continent. These immigrants continue to use traditional forms of medicine such as Ayurveda and Unani medicine. However, this usage of traditional medication poses a problem when they consult allopathic doctors there. English allopathic doctors are not familiar with the various traditional medicines that are prescribed under the Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine and hence, are unsure of any possible side effects with any allopathic medication that they may prescribe to the patient. It has also brought to light the importance of listing out the ingredients of various herbal medications that tourists who visit Western Nations may have been using.
One proposal that has been suggested by Sir Colin Dollery, Dean of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith hospital, is the standardization of the ingredients used in herbal medicines. This would serve to remove all guess work out of prescribing allopathic medication for patients who are already using herbal medication.

Standardization will also lead to some sort of quality control in the field of herbal medication. Quality control is still a very grey area when it comes to herbal medicines. A study made by J Bjorkhem and his colleagues from the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm further illustrates this point. These scientists collected fifty commercial samples of ginseng from various countries and tested them for the presence of ginsenosides, the principal compound in ginseng that is responsible for its therapeutic effect. The results that they obtained were shocking, to say the least. Six of the samples tested did not contain any ginsenosides at all. In the remaining forty-four samples, the concentration varied from between 1.9 to 9 per cent. This clearly highlights the need for standardization of herbal, medicines in light of their rising popularity all over the world.

Submitted on September 4, 2008