On April 22, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for cooperation in research, education and interdisciplinary sciences that integrate/co-opt traditional systems of medicine and modern science1. Moreover, a Working Group of CSIR-AYUSH Ministry has been formed to take this cooperation forward.
Earlier, CSIR jointly with Department of AYUSH (now Ministry) had developed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a globally recognized proprietary database on Indian systems of medicine for preventing biopiracy and misappropriation of our traditional knowledge. Apart from this, the constituent laboratories of CSIR with councils/institutes of the Ministry of AYUSH have also supported each other in the development of improved varieties and captive cultivation of the medicinal plants including rare, engendered and threatened (RET) species, Botanical Reference Standards and Pharmacopoeial standards, and Ayurgenomics, among many others.
In due cognition of the increasing demands and usage of herbal medicines and supplements worldwide, the joint endeavor of Ministry of AYUSH and CSIR, has decided to bring the organizations under an umbrella understanding for pursuing focused R&D efforts in the domain.
As per the understanding, both organizations shall jointly endeavor to pursue:
- R&D covering fundamental research; AYUSH specific diagnostic tools;
- Linking microbiome, gene expression and prakriti;
- Multi-ingredient herbal formulations, including their standardization;
- Exploring modern scientific methods for integration with traditional Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM);
- Linking disease signatures; etc.
- Furthering the collaboration in preserving and protecting traditional knowledge related to the Indian systems of healthcare, through the existing TKDL platform; and
- Development of international standardized terminologies (disease-morbidity codes) in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU), Database on Medicinal plants, Foods, etc.
About Traditional medicine2
Traditional medicine (TM) includes diverse health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant- animal- and/or mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises applied singularly or in combination to maintain well-being, as well as to treat, diagnose or prevent illness.
TKDL involves documentation of the knowledge available in public domain on traditional knowledge from the existing literature related to Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in digitized format, in five international languages which are English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. So far, the TKDL includes more than 2 lakhs medicinal formulations using 148 books available in public domain.
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