Indian silence makes Canadians speak

INDIAN SCIENTISTS make their Canadian counterparts ponder over the silence on herbal treatment. ?Indians are not telling the world what they are doing and we are here to know it from them,? said Dr Vladimir Vuksan of St Michael?s Hospital, University of Toronto. ?You ask Indians about herbal treatment, they keep mum. But the Chinese are open to it,? he rued. This may be one of the main reasons, according to him, for greater popularity of Chinese herbal medicines in the West.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 00:48 IST

INDIAN SCIENTISTS make their Canadian counterparts ponder over the silence on herbal treatment.

“Indians are not telling the world what they are doing and we are here to know it from them,” said Dr Vladimir Vuksan of St Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto. “You ask Indians about herbal treatment, they keep mum. But the Chinese are open to it,” he rued. This may be one of the main reasons, according to him, for greater popularity of Chinese herbal medicines in the West.

Dr Vuksan was in the city along with a delegation representing Canada at the International Satellite Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Functional Foods in the Management of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases at the Central Drug Research Institute.

Talking about the quality of Indian herbal medicines, Dr Vuksan said, “India stands a fair chance of getting returns from the West, provided it supplies good quality herbs. In the past there have been instances of heavy metals in the Indian herbs.”

“Heavy metals like mercury, arsenic and lead were found in the products of some of the major companies in India,” he said and added that money was not the problem, provided good quality herbal medicines, devoid of carcinogenic substances, are made available.

Dr Vuksan feels that in Canada, there is panic-like situation among the masses owing to growing number of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. He further said the false claims by the Indians were also the cause of worry for the West. “Diabetes is a growing problem in the West and the conventional methods have failed to heal, therefore we look towards India,” he said. Dr Vuksan further said while the West had the technology, the East had the knowledge and they both needed to come together.

Meanwhile, Dr Harpal Buttar, senior scientist and a representative of the Canadian Government in the delegation, said evidence-based drugs were the need of the hour. He said there was a lot of scope for Indian herbal medicines in Canada, provided they are standardised. Standardisation means different batches (bottles of drugs) contain 80 per cent of similar herbal products.

Highlighting objective of the symposium, he said the international meet was held to learn about the safety, efficacy and quality of herbal medicines. Regarding acceptability of the Indian herbs in Canada, he said the harmonisation of regulations was a must.

Dr Pradeep Visen, Research Scientist (Risk Factor Modification Centre), said the aim of the symposium was to provide the people with non-toxic and effective herbal medicines. He said the effort would bring the Indian industries and research institutes on a common platform.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 00:48 IST