Open main menu

Ministry of AYUSH

  (Redirected from AYUSH)

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy, abbreviated as AYUSH, is a governmental body in India purposed with developing, education and research in the field of alternative medicine.[1] The Ministry is headed by a Minister of State (Independent Charge), which position is currently held by Shripad Yesso Naik.[2]

Ministry of AYUSH
Emblem of India.svg
Agency overview
JurisdictionIndiaRepublic of India



Successive five year plans had allotted considerable focus to alternative (and esp. indigenous) forms of medicine under the healthcare sector.[citation needed] Numerous committees set up by the Government of India for the development of the healthcare sector:- Bhore (1946), Mudaliar (1961) and Srivastava Committee (1975) emphasized upon the improvement of traditional systems of medicine in India.[3] The National Health Policy (1983), National Education Policy in Health Sciences (1989) and National Health Policy (2002) highlighted the role of Indian School of Medicine (ISM) in improving healthcare access and asked for enabling its penetration to the rural masses.[4]

A diploma course in Ayurveda was launched in the 3rd (1961-1966) five-year plan and the Central Council of Indian Medicine was established in 1970 followed by Central Council of Homeopathy in 1973.[citation needed] The 6th (1980-1985) and 7th (1985-1990) five year plans aimed at developing novel ISM&H drugs and utilizing ISM&H practitioners in rural family healthcare.[citation needed] The 8th (1992-1997) five-year plan lend considerable emphasis on the mainstreaming of AYUSH.[citation needed] The Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM&H) was thus launched in March 1995, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.[1]

The 9th five-year plan (1998-2002) ensured for its integration with western medicine and was also the first to tackle different aspects of the AYUSH system in a standalone manner and focused on an overall development ranging from investing in human resource development and preservation and cultivation of medicinal plants to completing a pharmacopoeia and outlining good manufacturing processes.[citation needed]

The department was renamed to AYUSH in November 2003.[1] The National Rural Health Mission was launched in 2005 to integrate AYUSH practitioners in national health programmes esp. in primary health care (AYUSH medical officers at community health centers, para-professionals et al.) and provide support for research in the field.[5]

On 9 November 2014 it became a ministry in its own right. Observers have noted increased focusing on AYUSH healthcare; post the 2014 Indian general elections.[6]



The ministry runs multiple healthcare programs; primarily aimed at the rural population. More than 50,000 children have been enrolled in ‘Homeopathy for Healthy Child'.[7] It observes different days to raise general awareness about AYUSH and promote each of the systems.[8]

AYUSH is supposed to form an integral backbone of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana[9] and the ministry had long worked for integrating the different systems of AYUSH with modern medicine, in what has been described as 'a type of “cross-pathy”'.[10] The proposal has been criticized[11] and the Indian Medical Association remains strongly opposed to it.[10][12][13][6]

The ministry had collaborated with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to set up the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in 2001, on codified traditional knowledge on Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga, as a means of preventing grant of "bed" patents on traditional knowledge and thus counter biopiracy.[14]



A 2018 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimated the market share of AYUSH medicines at around US$3 billion and that India exported AYUSH products of a net worth US$401.68 million in the fiscal year 2016-17.[15] The Department of Pharmaceuticals had allocated a budget of ₹ 144 crore to the ministry for 2018-2020 for manufacture of alternative medicines.[16]

As of March 2015, there were nearly eight lakh AYUSH practitioners, over 90 per cent of whom practiced homeopathy or ayurveda.[10]


The Washington Post has noted the efforts behind the revival of Ayurveda as a part of the ruling party's rhetoric of restoring India's past glory to achieve prosperity in the future.[6] It also noted of the Ayurveda-industry being largely non-standardized and that its critics associated the aggressive pushing of Ayurveda into healthcare services as a product of the Hindu nationalist ideology of the ruling party.[6]

Some researchers have argued that the provision of AYUSH services is an example of “forced pluralism” which often leads to disbursal of incompetent healthcare services by unqualified practitioners.[3][17]


There is no credible efficacy or scientific basis of any of these forms of treatment.[10][18][19][20][21][22][23][excessive citations]

A strong consensus prevails among the scientific community that Homeopathy is a pseudo-scientific,[24][25][26][27] non-ethical[28][29] and implausible line of treatment.[30][31][32][33][34][35][excessive citations] Ayurveda is deemed to be pseudoscientific[36][23][37] but is occasionally considered a protoscience, or trans-science system instead.[38][39] Naturopathy and Unani are considered to be forms of pseudo-scientific quackery,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][excessive citations] ineffective and possibly harmful,[48][49] with a plethora of ethical issues about their practice.[40][50][51]


The quality of the research done by the ministry has been heavily criticized. Clinical trials of homeopathic drugs, conducted by their research wings were rejected in totality by the Lancet and National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia. There has been an acute dearth of RCTs on Ayurveda[10] and multiple systemic reviews have highlighted several methodological problems with the studies and trials conducted by AYUSH and its associates in relation to developing an Ayurvedic drug for diabetes.[52] A tendency to publish in dubious predatory journals and non-reproducibility by independent studies has also been noted.[53][54] India is also yet to conduct a systematic review of any of the systems of medicine under the purview of AYUSH.[10]


The ministry (in conjunction with other national laboratories) has been subject to heavy criticism for developing, advocating and commercializing multiple sham-drugs (BGR-34, IME9, Dalzbone, Ayush-64 et al.) and treatment-regimes for a variety of diseases including dengue,[55][9][56][57] chikungunya, swine flu,[58] asthma, autism,[59] diabetes, malaria,[60] AIDS,[61] cancer et cetera[62] despite a complete absence of rigorous pharmacological studies and/or meaningful clinical trials.[63][64][65][66][67][53][68][54][69][70][71][excessive citations]

A 2018 review article noted the existing regulations to be in-adequate for ensuring the safety, quality, efficacy and standardized rational use of these forms of treatment. Monitoring of adverse effects from the usage of these drugs and contraindication trials were absent, too.[3]

The average expenditure for drugs on AYUSH and allopathy has been found to not vary widely.[4]

The ministry had attracted international criticism after publishing a pamphlet titled Mother and Child Care through Yoga and Naturopathy which asked pregnant women to abstain from eating meat and eggs, shun desire and lust, hang beautiful photos in the bedroom and to nurture spiritual and ‘pure’ thoughts among other advices.[64][72]


The ministry had rejected the claims of inefficacy. The ministry had rejected the NHMRC's study on homeopathy; despite its critical acclaim as the most rigorous and reliable investigation into homeopathy ever[73][74] and in 2017, set up a committee at the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) to counter claimed western propaganda against homeopathy; which was ill-received.[7][75][70][76]


A NSSO survey in 2014 found that only 6.9% of the population favored AYUSH (3.5% ISM and 3.0% homeopathy) over other lines of treatment and that the urban population was slightly more conducive to seeking AYUSH forms of treatment than their rural counterparts.[77][4] A 2014 study did not report any significant difference between the usage of AYUSH services by rural and urban populace, after adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic variables.[4] Low-income households exhibited the highest tendency for AYUSH followed by high-income households and on an overall, AYUSH lines of treatment were majorly used to treat chronic diseases.[4] The treatments were more used among females in rural India but no gender-differential was observed in the urban populations.[4] Chhattisgarh (15.4%), Kerala (13.7%), and West Bengal (11.6%) displayed the highest AYUSH utilization levels.[4]

A 2018 review article noted that the states exhibited differential preference for particular AYUSH systems. Ayurveda and Siddha respectively show greater popularities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Unani was well-received in Hyderabad region and among Muslims whilst Homeopathy was highly popular in Bengal and Odisha. It further noted that the preference among the general population for usage of AYUSH revolved around a perceived "distrust or frustration with allopathic medicine, cost effectiveness, accessibility, non-availability of other options and less side effects of AYUSH medicines".[3]


  1. ^ a b c "About the Ministry". Ministry of AYUSH.
  2. ^ "Meet the Minister". Ministry of AYUSH.
  3. ^ a b c d Samal, Janmejaya; Dehury, Ranjit Kumar (18 October 2018). "Utilization, preference, perception and characteristics of people adopting traditional and AYUSH systems of medicine in India: a systematic review : Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine". Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. 16 (2). doi:10.1515/jcim-2018-0020. PMID 30352037.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Rudra, Shalini; Kalra, Aakshi; Kumar, Abhishek; Joe, William (4 May 2017). "Utilization of alternative systems of medicine as health care services in India: Evidence on AYUSH care from NSS 2014". PLoS ONE. 12 (5): e0176916. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0176916. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5417584. PMID 28472197.
  5. ^ Lakshmi, J. K. (January 2012). "Less equal than others? Experiences of AYUSH medical officers in primary health centres in Andhra Pradesh". Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 9 (1): 18–21. doi:10.20529/IJME.2012.005. ISSN 0974-8466. PMID 22319847.
  6. ^ a b c d "How ghee, turmeric and aloe vera became India's new instruments of soft power". The Washington Post. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "AYUSH Ministry Writes to Nobel Laureate Against His 'False Propaganda' on Homeopathy". The Wire. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  8. ^ "First Naturopathy day celebrated by Ayush ministry seeking to promote drug-less system of medicine". Hindustan Times. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Clinical trials on Ayurvedic medicine against dengue underway: Shripad Naik". The Economic Times. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Shrinivasan, Rukmini (26 April 2015). "Questions over science swirl, but AYUSH stands firm". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  11. ^ Shaikh, Dr Sumaiya (13 January 2018). "Why is it dangerous for AYUSH practitioners to prescribe modern medicine?". Alt News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Ayush doctors support NMC bill, hold rally". 6 February 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Bridge course for Ayush practitioners draws ire - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Know Instances of Patenting on the UES of Medicinal Plants in India". PIB, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  15. ^ "AYUSH ministry aims to triple market share of its medicines, services - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  16. ^ Sharma, Neetu Chandra (20 October 2018). "Govt allocates ₹144 crore to AYUSH ministry for alternative medicines". Mint. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  17. ^ Sheehan, Helen E. (2009). "Medical pluralism in India: patient choice or no other options? | Indian Journal of Medical Ethics". Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 6 (3): 138–41. doi:10.20529/ijme.2009.045. PMID 19653589.
  18. ^ Krishnan, Vidya. "AYUSH Ministry rails against global study on homeopathy". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  19. ^ "India's govt not only believes in homeopathy, it spends money on it". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Bridge course for AYUSH – the seed of destruction". The Hans India. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  21. ^ "The Threat of Pseudoscience in India". Undark. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  22. ^ Kumar, Ruchi; Kumar, Ruchi. "Indian academia is fighting a toxic mix of nationalism and pseudoscience". Quartz India. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  23. ^ a b Kaufman, Allison B.; Kaufman, James C. (12 January 2018). Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262037426.
  24. ^ Tuomela, R (1987). "Chapter 4: Science, Protoscience, and Pseudoscience". In Pitt JC, Marcello P (eds.). Rational Changes in Science: Essays on Scientific Reasoning. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. 98. Springer. pp. 83–101. doi:10.1007/978-94-009-3779-6_4. ISBN 978-94-010-8181-8.
  25. ^ Smith K (2012). "Homeopathy is Unscientific and Unethical". Bioethics. 26 (9): 508–12. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01956.x.
  26. ^ Baran GR, Kiana MF, Samuel SP (2014). "Science, Pseudoscience, and Not Science: How Do They Differ?". Chapter 2: Science, Pseudoscience, and Not Science: How Do They Differ?. Healthcare and Biomedical Technology in the 21st Century. Springer. pp. 19–57. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-8541-4_2. ISBN 978-1-4614-8540-7. within the traditional medical community it is considered to be quackery
  27. ^ Ladyman J (2013). "Chapter 3: Towards a Demarcation of Science from Pseudoscience". In Pigliucci M, Boudry M (eds.). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-226-05196-3. Yet homeopathy is a paradigmatic example of pseudoscience. It is neither simply bad science nor science fraud, but rather profoundly departs from scientific method and theories while being described as scientific by some of its adherents (often sincerely).
  28. ^ Shaw, DM (2010). "Homeopathy is where the harm is: Five unethical effects of funding unscientific 'remedies'". Journal of Medical Ethics. 36 (3): 130–31. doi:10.1136/jme.2009.034959. PMID 20211989.
  29. ^ Sample I (21 July 2008). "Pharmacists urged to 'tell the truth' about homeopathic remedies". The Guardian. London.
  30. ^ Shang, Aijing; Huwiler-Müntener, Karin; Nartey, Linda; Jüni, Peter; Dörig, Stephan; Sterne, Jonathan AC; Pewsner, Daniel; Egger, Matthias (2005). "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy". The Lancet. 366 (9487): 726–32. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67177-2. PMID 16125589.
  31. ^ Ernst, E. (December 2012). "Homeopathy: a critique of current clinical research". Skeptical Inquirer. 36 (6).
  32. ^ "Homeopathy". American Cancer Society. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  33. ^ UK Parliamentary Committee Science and Technology Committee - "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy"
  34. ^ Grimes, D.R. (2012). "Proposed mechanisms for homeopathy are physically impossible". Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 17 (3): 149–55. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7166.2012.01162.x.
  35. ^ "Homeopathic products and practices: assessing the evidence and ensuring consistency in regulating medical claims in the EU" (PDF). European Academies' Science Advisory Council. September 2017. p. 1. Retrieved 1 October 2017. ... we agree with previous extensive evaluations concluding that there are no known diseases for which there is robust, reproducible evidence that homeopathy is effective beyond the placebo effect.
  36. ^ Semple D, Smyth R (2013). Chapter 1: Psychomythology. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-19-969388-7.
  37. ^ "13-10-09". Skeptic. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  38. ^ Quack, Johannes (2011). Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford University Press. pp. 213, 3. ISBN 9780199812608.
  39. ^ Manohar, P. Ram (2009). "The blending of science and spirituality in the Ayurvedic healing tradition". In Paranjape, Makarand R. (ed.). Science, Spirituality and the Modernization of India. Anthem Press. pp. 172–3. ISBN 9781843317760.
  40. ^ a b Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine. 5 (4): 39. PMID 14745386.(registration required)
  41. ^ Atwood IV, Kimball. C. (26 March 2004). "Naturopathy, pseudoscience, and medicine: Myths and fallacies vs truth". Medscape General Medicine. 6 (1): 33. PMC 1140750. PMID 15208545.
  42. ^ Barrett, Stephen (26 November 2013). "A close look at naturopathy". QuackWatch. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  43. ^ Harvey, Claire (11 July 2015). "Don't duck the law by sending kids to quacks". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  44. ^ Chivers, Tom (10 November 2014). "How does naturopathy work? A bit like a flying vacuum-cleaner to Mars". Spectator. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  45. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (22 January 2013). "Don't legitimize the witch doctors". National Post. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  46. ^ Russell, Jill; Rovere, Amy, eds. (2009). American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (Second ed.). Atlanta: American Cancer Society. pp. 116–119.
  47. ^ "MMS Testimony in Opposition to H. 1992 and S. 1205, An Act to Create a Board of Registration in Naturopathy". Massachusetts Medical Society. Massachusetts Medical Society. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  48. ^ Carroll, Robert (26 November 2012). "Natural". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  49. ^ "NCAHF Position Paper on Over the Counter Herbal Remedies (1995)". National Council Against Health Fraud. 1995. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  50. ^ Gorski, David H. (18 September 2014). "Integrative oncology: really the best of both worlds?". Nature Reviews Cancer. 14 (10): 692–700. doi:10.1038/nrc3822. PMID 25230880.
  51. ^ Singh S, Ernst E (2009). Naturopathy. Trick or Treatment?: Alternative Medicine on Trial. Transworld. pp. 197–. ISBN 978-1-4090-8180-7. many naturopaths are against mainstream medicine and advise their patients accordingly – for instance many are not in favour of vaccination.
  52. ^ Misra, Anoop; Gulati, Seema; Luthra, Atul (2016). "Alternative medicines for diabetes in India: Maximum hype, minimum science". The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 4 (4): 302–303. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00515-X. PMID 27016323.
  53. ^ a b Patwardhan, Bhushan (2016). "Ayurvedic drugs in case: Claims, evidence, regulations and ethics". Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 7 (3): 135–137. doi:10.1016/j.jaim.2016.08.005. PMC 5052386. PMID 27640330.
  54. ^ a b Pulla, Priyanka (25 February 2018). "Big claims, little evidence". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  55. ^ "Homoeopathy pills to check spread of dengue". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 11 September 2018. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 January 2019.CS1 maint: others (link)
  56. ^ Chandna, Himani (16 April 2018). "India could have the solution to cure dengue by next year: an ayurvedic pill". The
  57. ^ "Ayurvedic dengue cure: Indian scientists create first of its kind drug to treat the disease". Hindustan Times. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  58. ^ Reporter, Staff (28 January 2015). "Swine flu prevention: homeo pills effective, say officials". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  59. ^ Shaikh, Dr Sumaiya (15 May 2018). "Do the AYUSH based treatments for autism stand up to scientific scrutiny?". Alt News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  60. ^ Mittal, Shivani (29 January 2019). "The inefficacy of AYUSH-64, the anti-malarial Ayurvedic drug developed by Ministry of AYUSH". Alt News. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  61. ^ Reporter, B. S. (5 April 2015). "A homeopathic experiment gives hope for treatment of AIDS". Business Standard India. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  62. ^ "Ministry of Ayush Develops drugs for Dengue, Cancer". United News of India.
  63. ^ Vora, Priyanka. "There's no scientific evidence, but AYUSH ministry is recommending alternative medicines for dengue". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  64. ^ a b "What is AYUSH and the controversy around it?". Deccan Herald. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  65. ^ "Doctors, health activists rap Ayush ministry's bid to promote alternative medical systems in anti-dengue battle". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  66. ^ Sengupta, Nirmal (2018). Traditional Knowledge in Modern India: Preservation, Promotion, Ethical Access and Benefit Sharing Mechanisms. Springer. ISBN 9788132239222. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  67. ^ Reddy, Prashant. "Innovation and Regulation of Ayurvedic medicine: CSIR's BGR-34, nimensulide in Ayurvedic medicine and other such stories". SpicyIP. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  68. ^ Shaikh, Dr Sumaiya (13 August 2017). "Are AYUSH supported BGR-34 and IME-9 drugs safe and effective for diabetes?". Alt News. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  69. ^ Mukunth, Vasudevan. "After BGR-34, Ministry of AYUSH Pushes #Homeopathy4Diabetes". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  70. ^ a b "7 Scientific Pieces Of 'Propaganda Against Homeopathy' That The Government Might Need To Consider". HuffPost India. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  71. ^ Kakkilaya, Srinivas (4 September 2008). "Chikungunya: Is there an alternative?". Nirmukta. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  72. ^ Pandey, Geeta (21 June 2017). "Reality Check: Should pregnant women shun meat and lust?". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  73. ^ Krishnan, Vidya (5 May 2016). "AYUSH Ministry rails against global study on homeopathy". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  74. ^ "HOMEOPATHY: the NHMRC report revisited". Edzard Ernst. 28 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  75. ^ Staff, Scroll. "Centre sets up committee to deal with false propaganda against homoeopathy". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  76. ^ "Making pseudoscience of homeopathy immune from criticism does not serve public weal". In Scientio, Veritas. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  77. ^ "90% of Indians prefer allopathy over AYUSH - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 January 2019.

External linksEdit