Coimbatore: The community of Ayurvedic practitioners here have reacted strongly to a report published by US health researchers a few days ago claiming documented evidence of lead poisoning risks among pregnant women who took Ayurvedic medicine. While they admitted that the Ayurvedic medicines did contain lead compounds - widely criticised by the US health researchers - the Vaidyas said that these compounds were present in miniscule quantities and served medicinal values rather than causing detriments.
“An integral part of Ayurveda is the ‘Rasa Shastra’ or the practice of intentionally adding metals, minerals or gems to the medicine,” said Dr K Murali, senior physician and superintendent of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala. “However, it is not added in the raw form but is clinically and scientifically processed. In particular conditions, it is absolutely necessary to add lead compounds that are used as medicines in prescribed and miniscule doses.”
The promoters of Ayurveda also alleged that it was the half-baked knowledge of Ayurshastra, or the science of Ayurveda, that led to the misconception in the West. Said Dr Manoj Nesari, Joint Adviser (Ayurveda), Department of AYUSH, Government of India, “It is no secret that Ayurvedic medicine is about 20 per cent of mineral and gemstone origin.”
They however admitted that Ayurvedic medicines did contain lead compounds as criticised by a US health research.
“The eight formulations that have been alleged as potentially hazardous by the American Medical Association were studied and found safe by us. Ayurvedic medicines are based on a combination of hundreds of diverse molecules. Even turmeric has hundreds of basic formulations that work in hundred different ways. Going by the scope of modern chemistry, even turmeric would be toxic,” he added.