MUSKAN KHAN AND USAMA BIN FIROZ
Ayurveda is the oldest holistic healing system. But do we, the new generation, know enough about it?
This question twisted and twirled in our brain when we, B. Pharm 1st year students, were studying about different medicinal systems of the world. As pharmacy graduates, it is crucial for us to get acquainted with these systems, be it old traditional Chinese medicine or our own Indian traditional medicinal systems including Ayurveda.
After the class, our curiosity about the Ayurveda system was heightened as we were curious to know much more about it. Interestingly when we talked to our own classmates about Ayurveda, we realised that very few of our friends were actually aware of India’s oldest medicinal system how to use it, its principles or how Ayurveda works on the human body.
To satiate our curiosity, we searched online and came to know that despite the government’s attempts over the years to popularise AYUSH (Ministry that works on promoting Ayurveda), the general population preferred allopathic drugs.
According to a recent Times of India article, 90 per cent of Indians prefer allopathy over Indian traditional systems. That was quite surprising for us.
We spent a few days brooding over this information till we decided to talk to one of our Professors about it. Luckily, our educator, Dr Gurjot Kaur, noticed this dilemma and decided to guide us. During one of our ‘between the lectures’ long conversations, Ma’am explained to us, in very simple words, what Ayurveda is all about.
We also discussed why the B. Pharmacy graduates are largely unaware of such an important topic. We, unanimously, agreed that while we would like to get actual numbers about the current facts on the students about Ayurveda, we would also like to raise their awareness on such an important topic. Fortunately our classmates Caroline, Divya, Harsh, Rishika and Sakshi, helped us design the online survey on Ayurveda using Sogo Survey.
We chose 13 questions as part of our survey. For example: do you use ayurvedic medicine, are you aware of the ingredients, do you use any other medicine with it? Luckily, some of our friends wanted to help us with this design and we ended up with a pretty cool survey.
As the link of the survey could be shared through WhatsApp, we started visiting all the current batches of B. Pharmacy, usually at the end of one of their lectures. We would start by explaining in detail why we are conducting this survey and what is the importance of Ayurveda and then share the survey link through WhatsApp to their respective batches. As our survey was fully functional through this link on an online server, their answers were directly registered into the survey app and it was quite easy for us to work with such a huge number of students (almost 80-90 every time).
Once the data was obtained, we analysed it using analysis software on Sogo Survey. For example, we found that out of 231 students that took the survey, 65 per cent were males and 35 per cent were females.
Most of the answers were quite unexpected. For example, when we asked the question on whether they use Ayurvedic medicines, 117 students out of 231, that is around 50 per cent gave a negative as a reply while 63 students or 27 per cent had rarely used Ayurveda. To our question on whether they used other medicinal systems, 169 students out of 231 (or 73 per cent) entered allopathy as their preferred choice of therapy while 33 (14 per cent) used homoeopathy, and 58 (25 per cent) used home remedies for relief. About 140 students (60 per cent) were not aware of the ingredients, formulations, and side-effects of using two systems such as allopathy and Ayurveda together.
As B. Pharmacy students (now in our 2nd year), this was a huge accomplishment. Not only did we actually generate facts through our survey but also raised awareness in students about a very important Indian medicinal system. We personally learned many interesting facts and even, how-todo-a-survey.
In the end, we would like our readers to ponder over the following question: Do we know enough about Ayurveda? If you are sufficiently interested, go online or grab a book and read about such an important part of Indian history and our role in the development of one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems. Let us be proud and promote it as a great option for therapy.