Ayurveda vs allopathy, making a case for empathy

SPICE OF LIFE: There should be no controversy between the ancient and modern systems of medicine. Peaceful coexistence of both the ‘pathies’ is the need of the hour
Flagbearers of both the streams of medicine, ayurveda and allopathy, are often at loggerheads. The common man, like an undecided voter, is sitting on the fence. (Representational photo)
Flagbearers of both the streams of medicine, ayurveda and allopathy, are often at loggerheads. The common man, like an undecided voter, is sitting on the fence. (Representational photo)
Published on Sep 06, 2021 06:38 PM IST
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By Dr Rajiv Sharma

Flagbearers of both the streams of medicine, ayurveda and allopathy, are often at loggerheads. Claims and counterclaims are made; blames and accusations are exchanged only to assert the supremacy of one stream over the other.

The common man, like an undecided voter, is sitting on the fence, trying to make up his mind before taking sides. The main cause for his confusion is that he is equally dependent on ancient and modern science. From getting up in the morning and drinking a glass of lemon water with honey to taking tulsi (basil leaves) and adrak (ginger) tea to drinking kadha (a herbal concoction of commonly used spices) to taking isabgol husk, turmeric milk and chyawanprash at night, the common man follows the traditional wisdom of the scriptures with faith and reverence.

Whereas, when it comes to falling prey to an illness, he takes a giant leap of faith and doesn’t think twice before consulting a doctor, well versed in the modern system of medicine. He follows the advice of the doctor verbatim and doesn’t mind going the extra mile to avail the services of the best and the latest in the field of medicine. The common man knows better than the flagbearers to make the most of both the systems.

At the time of Independence, the life expectancy of an Indian was only 31 years. Ancient medicine was there but antibiotics had yet to emerge on the horizon and save mankind from the fury of frequent epidemics. With the advent of broad-spectrum antibiotics, anti-malarials and antiviral drugs and remarkable advances made in the field of cardiology, surgery and oncology, we can look forward to living up to the autumns of our lives healthily and comfortably.

There should be no controversy between the ancient and modern systems of medicine. Peaceful coexistence of both the ‘pathies’ is the need of the hour. A light-hearted WhatsApp message, sent by my friend, well illustrates the importance of both the systems of medicines in our lives. It averred that ancient science takes care of us like a mother who nourishes us to live a long and healthy life by following the principles of traditional wisdom, while the modern system is like our spouse whom we can’t afford to offend even for a day.

As the war of words between the flagbearers of the two ‘pathies’ rages on, I’m reminded of the words of US Republican leader Bill Bullard, “The highest form of knowledge is empathy.”

And my fellow clinicians would definitely agree that this ‘pathy’ never fails. rajivsharma.rs201067@gmail.com

The writer is an Amritsar-based freelance contributor

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Monday, October 25, 2021