Category Archives: Ayurvedic

Hasna hana (Cestrum nocturnum)

Botanical Name: Cestrum nocturnum

Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Cestrum
Species: C. nocturnum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common name: Night-blooming cestrum, Night blooming jasmine, Rat ki rani (Hindi), Thabal lei (Manipuri), Hasna hana (Bengali), Raatrani (Marathi, Konkani)
Habitat:Native to Mexico, Central America, India and Cuba, Bangladesh.

It has become widely naturalised in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, southern China and the southernmost United States, and is difficult to eradicate. It is classed as a weed in some countries.

In Auckland New Zealand, it has been reported as a seriously invasive weed to the Auckland Regional Council and is under investigation. NS Forest and Bird is compiling an inventory of wild cestrum sites in order to place the plant on the banned list. The inventory can be viewed via Google Maps. Some nurseries still sell it without warning customers of the dangers to native bush reserves. It has been reported that the plant has been removed from some old folks’ homes due to the strong scent causing difficulties for the residents

Description:

Cestrum nocturnum   is an evergreen woody shrub growing to 4 metres (13 ft) tall. The leaves are simple, narrow lanceolate, 6–20 centimetres (2.4–7.9 in) long and 2–4.5 centimetres (0.79–1.77 in) broad, smooth and glossy, with an entire margin. The flowers are greenish-white, with a slender tubular corolla 2–2.5 centimetres (0.79–0.98 in) long with five acute lobes, 10–13 millimetres (0.39–0.51 in) diameter when open at night, and are produced in cymose inflorescences. A powerful, sweet perfume is released at night. The fruit is a berry 10 millimetres (0.39 in) long by 5 millimetres (0.20 in) diameter, the colour of an aubergine. There is also a variety with yellowish flowers. There are mixed reports regarding the toxicity of foliage and fruit.

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Cultivation :
C. nocturnum is grown in subtropical regions as an ornamental plant for its flowers that are heavily perfumed at night. It grows best in average to moist soil that is light and sandy, with a neutral pH of 6.6 to 7.5, and is hardy to hardiness zone 8. C. nocturnum can be fertilized biweekly with a weak dilution of seaweed and fish emulsion fertilizer.

Cestrum nocturnum  grows best in light, sandy soil. It is not salt tolerant, but is otherwise adaptable to a variety of conditions and usually requires little care except for frost protection.

Propagation: Night blooming jessamine is very easy to start from young, fast growing stem cuttings.
Medicinal Uses: Extract of the plant used as antispasmodic and treatment of epilepsy.

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Pharmacology  & Nkown Hazards:
Ingestion of C. nocturnum has not been well documented, but there is some reason to believe that caution is in order. All members of the Solanaceae family contain an alkaloid toxin called solanine, though some members of the family are routinely eaten without ill-effect. The most commonly reported problems associated with C. nocturnum are respiratory problems from the scent, and feverish symptoms following ingestion.

Some people, especially those with respiratory sensitivities or asthma, report difficulty breathing, irritation of the nose and throat, headache, nausea, or other symptoms when exposed to the blossom’s powerful scent. Some Cestrum species contain chlorogenic acid, and the presence of this potent sensitizer may be responsible for this effect in C. nocturnum.

Some plant guides describe C. nocturnum as “toxic” and warn that ingesting plant parts, especially fruit, may result in elevated temperature, rapid pulse, excess salivation and gastritis.

The mechanisms of the plant’s psychoactive effects are currently unknown, and anecdotal data is extremely limited. In a rare discussion of traditional entheogenic use of the plant, Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch, and Shahi describe shamanic use of C. nocturnum in Nepal. They describe experiencing “trippy” effects without mentioning unpleasant physical side effects. Rätsch’s Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants also describes a handful of reports of ingestion of the plant without mentioning serious adverse side effects.

Spoerke et al. describe the following toxic effects reported from ingesting C. nocturnum: Ingesting 15 lb of plant material caused a cow to salivate, clamp its jaws, collapse, and eventually die. A postmortem showed gastroenteritis and congestion of liver, kidneys, brain, and spinal cord. Although the berries and the sap are suspected of being toxic, several cases of ingestion of the berries have not shown them to be a problem, with one exception. Morton cites a case where children ate significant quantities (handfuls) of berries and had no significant effects and another two where berries were ingested in smaller amounts, with similar negative results.

Ingestion of green berries over several weeks by a 2-year-old child resulted in diarrhea, vomiting, and blood clots in the stool.[citation needed] Anemia and purpura [discoloration of the skin caused by subcutaneous bleeding] were also noted. A solanine alkaloid isolated from the stool was hemolytic to human erythrocytes.

Plant extracts have shown larvicidal activity against the mosquito Aedes aegypti while showing no toxicity to fish. Plant extracts cause Hematological changes in the freshwater fish when exposed to sub lethal concentration of this plant.

General Uses: This is a popular landscape plant in warm climates. For a mixed border, background, or as a free standing specimen, night blooming jessamine is attractive and unpretentious. Use it in butterfly gardens, as night blooming jessamine provides food for some caterpillars.

 

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Night%20Blooming%20Jasmine.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cestrum_nocturnum
http://www.crescentbloom.com/plants/specimen/ce/Cestrum%20nocturnum.htm

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How Green is This Medicine?

Ayurveda, the oldest health system in the world, is going in for a makeover, but is it all for the good? Till now, the biggest innovation had been coloured ayurvedic pills and capsules. But the government’s recent amendment of the 63-year-old Drugs and Cosmetics Act appears to allow a more fundamental change — ayurvedic medicine can now contain anti-oxidants, flavouring agents, preservatives and sweeteners. So is ayurveda about to lose its unique organic wholesomeness?

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Ayurveda practitioners and drug-makers don’t think so. They say the additives, natural or synthetic, must be in permissible quantities in order that the medicine retains its natural properties. “The purpose of allowing the use of anti-oxidants or sweeteners is to increase the shelf life of the ayurvedic medicines,” says Dr S K Sharma, advisor to the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The reasoning is that once they last longer, it would be easier to market ayurvedic medicines nationally and internationally.

But Sharma cautions that the changed law is not “purely for commercial reasons. There is a strong need for scientific innovation. It’s time that we tried to improve ayurvedic medicines.” So, the anti-oxidants that are being allowed to use will prevent the medicine from decomposing. The additives, says Sharma, will only help in making ayurvedic medicines more stable than ever before.

Some ayurvedic practitioners admit that there are legitimate concerns about additives. Dr V V Doiphode, dean of Pune University‘s Department of Ayurveda, stresses the importance of testing any product before it is added to an ayurvedic drug. “The onus is on the drug-makers to ensure these (additives) aren’t detrimental to health,” he says. For that they will have to conduct extensive research and lab testing.

There are other ways of ensuring compliance, not least guidelines issued by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The IPC sets strict standards for drugs and other pharmaceutical products. Add to this, the wording of the amended Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which allows “only natural colouring agents as permitted under rule 26 of Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules 1955 for ayurveda, siddha and unani drugs.”

But what if someone wanted to market a flavoured chyawanprash, say chocolate, to attract the international market? Would that be more synthetic than traditional chyawanprash? Not really, so long as it retains its original properties, says Ranjit Puranik, CEO of Shree Dootapapeshwar Ltd, ayurvedic drug-maker and exporter.

The loophole, however, is that a product like chyawanprash, which is made of 54 herbs — of which amla (gooseberry) is the main — can be marketed internationally as a dietary supplement rather than a medicine. If it has to be marketed as a medicine, then all the 54 herbs have to go through a standardisation process that will certify that none of the herbs are harmful to health.

The amended act allows synthetic additives in ayurvedic drugs but insists they “carry a statutory warning stating the name and quantity of the artificial sweetener.” Puranik says it’s up to the individual manufacturer to decide how natural he wants the ayurvedic drug to be. And if he uses a large quantity of synthetic additive “he clearly can’t then sell the product as ayurveda”.

That may affect ayurvedic core market, but the holistic health treatment has a long way to go in persuading India and the wider world of the goodness of its old-style organic approach to healing. Industry experts estimate that the global market for ayurveda is worth $120 billion. But India’s ayurveda exports are a paltry Rs 450 crore or $91 million. China and Sri Lanka lead the world in ayurveda manufacture and export.

India is finally trying to close the gap by adding innovation to the ayurveda mix. “These medicines can be tweaked a bit to suit people’s tastes, but the medicinal properties should be maintained. Say for instance, a popular ayurvedic medicine, kashayam, is now available in the form of capsules and tablets. This has been achieved by spray drying but the original properties are not tinkered with.” says V G Udayakumar, president of the Kerala-based Ayurveda Medical Association of India. He believes the same can be applicable to other medicines too.

But there’s some way to go before the humble hajmola becomes the world’s prescribed cure for indigestion.

Sources:The Times Of India

Chopchini (Smilax china)

Botanical Name: Smilax china
English Name : China Root
French Name : Sarutori ibara
Arabic Name : Khabsul Seeni, Jazar Seeni
Persian Name : Chobchini
Sanskrit Name : Madhusnuhi
Hindi Name : Chopchini, Chobchini
Chinese Name : Tu Fu Ling
German Name : Chinawurzel
Family:Smilacaceae

Other name:Sarsaparilla, China root
Range :E. Asia – China, Japan.
Habitat :E. Asia,China, Japan. Shrub thickets in hills and mountains. Forests, thickets, hillsides, grassy slopes, shaded places along valleys or streams from near sea level to 2000 metres.

Description:
It is a climbing herbs with a large tuberous rhizome; stem and branches unarmed, polished; Leaves lanceolate, acuminate, rounded at the base, 3-nerved, glaucous underneath; Umbels axillary simple, sessile, solitary.

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.


Medicinal Uses:

Antibacterial activity has been observed with the lant extracts. They are useful in skin diseases, vitiated conditions of vata, flatulence, tuberculosis, and general debility. It helps in faster clearance of symptoms.

Roots are aphrodisiac, pseudorific, demulent, alteratively used in rheumatism, syphilis, and skin diseases. The rhizome is made into a paste and applied to painful swellings.

The root is depurative, diaphoretic, stimulant, alterative, resolvent, tonic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, antibiotic, alterative, antisyphilitic, astringent, sudorific and demulcent. Useful in sexual debility and in syphilis, scrofula and other skin diseases. Also useful in rheumatism, gout, epilepsy and chronic nervous diseases.

Useful in Following diseases : Blood Impurities, Epilepsy, Fevers, Gout, Nervous Debility, Psoriasis, Rheumatism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Seminal Debility, Sexual Debility, Syphilis,

Used in Following medicines : Femone, Rheuma, SkinClear Syrup (Raktsafa),

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.dehlvi.com/ingredient.php?section=view&itemID=54
http://www.bicco.com/herb_photo.html
http://www.vasuhealthcare.com/vasusmilaxchina.htm

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Shilajit

Latin Name:Asphaltum

English Name:Mineral Pitch and Shilajit
Sanskrit/Indian Name:Shilajit

The name
Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness.” It is also spelt as Shilajeet, and is known by various other names like Shilajita Mumiyo; Mineral pitch, Mineral wax or Ozokerite in English; Black Asphaltum; and Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin.

Description:
Shilajit is used in the Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. Shilajit is a rasayana herb and is an adaptogen. Shilajit contains at least 85 minerals in Ionic form as well as humic acid and fulvic acid. Clinical researches have been in progress and the ancient claims of the drug’s several properties, including anti-aging properties.A similar exudate from the Caucasus Mountains is called Mumiyo but is not considered as strong as the Himalayan Shilajit.

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Origin
Ancient Indian yogis, and practitioners of Aurvedic medicine, on understanding several potent qualities of Shilajit, had attributed divine powers to Shilajit. In essence Shilajit is a natural concentrate of plants of the regions of the Himalayas, and is found in the Himalayan ranges in India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and part of Central Asia and Scandinavia. The flora of the Himalayas is rich and varied, and for thousand of years the plants have come to life, absorbed nutrients from the soil, and then died out. This is a process which has been repeated again and again countless times, and continued for millennia. It is believed that Shilajit found in the Himalayas are the fossilized form of those plants, and the particular biosphere of the Himalayas created them and bestowed medicinal qualities to them. Shilajit, found in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, are collected during summer months when the ice melts, and Shilajeet lumps are sometimes spotted and collected from the crannies of rocks, and similar places. Shilajit so collected are processed by several drug manufactures and presented in capsule form for human consumption.

Puri (2006) in his book has devoted one chapter to Shilajit. He has given in detail about the study of Shilajit in the last two centuries and the various speculated sources of Shilajit. The Indian workers considered dendroid Euphorbia” as the source but in Ladakh faeces of mountain mouse were considered the source. In Russian literature, it is said to have formed by compaction of Junipers. Scientific studies reveal that it is a humus like compound. Dr Peter Zahler (1998 and 2002) has commented on the relationship of the occurrence of salajit and the Woolly Flying Squirrel and Dr Carman (unpublished) has reported his observations of mammal pellets (Woolly Flying Squirrel and Afghani Pika) in association with salajit deposits in northern Pakistan. These pellets are the so called “pallets’ in photomicrographs described by Faruqi (1997).

Modern discovery:Winston, David & Maimes, Steven. “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief,” Healing Arts Press, 2007. Contains a monograph on shilajit and health benefits.

Over sixty years of clinical research have shown that shilajit has positive effects on humans. It increases longevity, improves memory and cognitive ability, reduces allergies and respiratory problems, reduces stress, and relieves digestive troubles. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and eliminates free radicals. The research proves that shilajit increases immunity, strength, and endurance, and lives up to its ancient reputation as the “destroyer of weakness.”

Technically, shilajit is an exudate that is pressed out from layers of rock in the most sacred and highest mountains in Nepal and other areas. It is composed of humus and organic plant material that has been compressed by layers of rock. Humus is formed when soil microorganisms decompose animal and plant material into elements usable by plants. Plants are the source of all our food and humus is the source of plant food. Unlike other soil humus, shilajit humus consists of 60-80% organic mass.

Click to see:->Shilajit-The True Story of An Ayurvedic Formula

Shilajit is truly an amazing medicine.

Shilajit: Antiaging and Aphrodisiac herb

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Sacred Soma of the Alchemists

The most powerful anti-aging substance and Rejuvenator even known to mankind.Feel the power of growing young.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shilajit
http://www.ayurvediccure.com/shilajit.htm

Ancient Healing Art Becoming More Popular

ayurveda, ayurvedic, healing, healing art, ancient

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of medicine and natural healing from India, and is the oldest known form of healthcare in the world.

We can find historical evidence of Ayurveda in the ancient books of wisdom known as the Vedas, written over 6,000 years ago, of which only a small portion is available to us from that time.1

Tibetan medicine and traditional Chinese medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical Ayurvedic medical texts. Ayurveda has been used and practiced throughout the subcontinent, Indonesia and many other countries in the surrounding region for thousands of years, although it was often suppressed during various occupations in those areas.

Recently the western world, particularly Europe and the United States, has become increasingly fascinated with and interested in Ayurvedic medicine.

The Science of Life

The world Ayurveda roughly translates as “The Science of Life.” It is merger of two Sanskrit words: ‘Ayu’ (the root of ayur & ayus ) which means ‘life,’ and ‘Veda’ which means a combination of ‘science, knowledge and wisdom.’

According to Ayurveda, first noted by the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka: human life is the combination of mind, body, senses and soul.

Ayurveda sees that the senses and the mind work in conjunction with one another and greatly influence our physiology.

Ayurveda is not just a medical system. It sees human beings as an integral part of nature. It believes that human beings should live in harmony with nature just as the animals and plants do, and utilize the laws of nature to create health and balance within. It adheres to this focus in guiding human beings to maintain health by using the inherent principles of nature to bring an individual back into equilibrium with his or her true self.

The ancient texts reveal that Ayurveda was also originally used as a regime to remove obstacles on one’s path to Self-Realization. At some point the medical aspects began to take priority over the spiritual forms of healing.

Today, these spiritual aspects of Ayurveda have taken a back seat to the medical focus. As Ayurveda becomes more commercially viable, the spiritual aspects may continue to lose ground. Yet there are a growing number of practitioners who employ these spiritual therapies and find better results than limiting their approach only to the medical, physical realm.

Understanding Ayurveda

Ayurvedic wisdom offers life-enhancing practices as well as herbal medicinal preparations for the health and well being of the whole human being: body, mind, and soul. It is much more than just a system to treat symptoms or physical illness.

Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our health and well being, and are seen both in our internal and external environments. Called ‘doshas’ these three energies are known as:

  • Vata (Air/Wind)
  • Pitta (Fire/Sun)
  • Kapha (Earth & Water)

Ayurveda sees these primary forces in a unique combination in every individual, and as relating to the characteristics of our mind and body. Every individual has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature.

These doshas also have the characteristic of being: movement (Vata), transformation (Pitta) and structure (Kapha). We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The ratios of the doshas vary in each individual. Because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.

Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas (and sub-doshas), and thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a person’s health challenges.

Herbs are often recommended to supplement the nutritional requirements on a regular basis to build and maintain a healthy physiology. As some of the Ayurvedic herbs are now recognized to be the most potent and powerful adaptogens on the planet — and since stress is now known to be a significant factor in over 80 percent of all illnesses — these herbs are essential in any health program designed to promote and maintain a healthy human body.

When any of the doshas become aggravated, thereby upsetting the natural harmony for the individual, Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines as well as specific medicinal herbs to assist the individual in reducing and rebalancing the dosha that has become excessive or out of balance.

Ayurveda goes into great detail to describe the medicinal attributes of many herbs and their correct usage to compliment and hasten the healing process, and to strengthen the body’s organs and systems.

Ayurvedic Herbs: Controversy Over Pharma Attempts at Patents2

Growing awareness in the west of the efficacy of Ayurvedic herbs and formulations has led to controversy and battles with the western pharmaceutical companies trying to patent these herbs.3

Only recently discovered in the west, Ayurvedic herbs such as Neem, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Shatavari, Turmeric, Amalaki and Brahmi as well as traditional preparations such as Triphala and Trikatu have long been known to have significant medicinal value without adverse side effects.

Several pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions in the west have come into conflict with Indian academic institutions and traditional Ayurvedic practitioners over the intellectual property rights of herbal products researched by the western agencies.

The Ayurvedic practitioners have known about the efficacy of such products for centuries, and so contend that they carry precedence with regards to patent rights on such products.

Free Trade Industrial Agriculture Rules Threaten the World’s Farmers

Per the World Trade Organization Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement:4

“Indian farmers, traditional practitioners, and traders will lose their market share in local, national and global markets. For example, recently the U.S. government granted a patent for the anti-diabetic properties of karela, jamun, and brinjal to two non-resident Indians, Onkar S.Tomer and Kripanath Borah, and their colleague Peter Gloniski. Yet the use of these substances for control of diabetes is everyday knowledge and practice in India. Their medical use is documented in authoritative treatises such as Wealth of India, the Compendium of Indian Medicinal Plants and the Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants.

If there were only one or two cases of such false claims to invention on the basis of biopiracy, they could be called an error. However, biopiracy is an epidemic.

Neem, haldi, pepper, harar, bahera, amla, mustard, basmati, ginger, castor, jaramla, amaltas and new karela and jamun have all been patented. The problem is not, as was made out to be in the case of turmeric, an error made by a patent clerk. The problem is deep and systemic. And it calls for a systemic change, not case-by-case challenges. The potential costs of biopiracy to the Third World poor are very high since two-thirds of the people in the South depend on free access to biodiversity for their livelihoods and needs. Seventy percent of seed in India is saved or shared farmers’ seed; 70 percent of healing is based on indigenous medicine using local plants.”

Obtaining Potent, Efficacious, Organic (Heavy-Metal Free) Ayurvedic Herbs

It has been mostly individual practitioners who procure, grow, dry and prepare these herbs and preparations in an effective, potent manner, whereas commercially available Ayurvedic products have been of substandard quality.

It is only recently that a few companies have started producing high quality organic Ayurvedic herbal products, most notably, ORGANIC INDIA Pvt. Ltd. Headquartered in Lucknow, UP. North India.

Ayurveda Moving West

Clinical practice, research and education in Ayurvedic medicine remain the most authentic in India. However, attempts are being made by westerners to export the essence of Ayurveda to complement their own medical systems, where the pharmaceutical industry and allopathic medicine predominates.

As a result of regulations in medical practice in Europe and America, the most commonly practiced Ayurvedic treatments in the west are massage, dietary counseling and herbal advice.

The NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association-USA) is one of several groups seeking to set standards for Ayurveda in the west.

There are 26 schools in the US and dozens in Europe which are teaching 500+ hour courses for proficiency at Ayurvedic Health Practitioners, certified but not licensed.

In the United States, the NIH NCCAM expends some of its $123 million budget on Ayurvedic medicine research. In addition, the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, established by Dr. Scott Gerson, is an example of a research institute that has carried out research into Ayurvedic practices.

Dr. Gerson has published part of his work on the antifungal activities of certain Ayurvedic plants in medical journals. Other notable researchers on ayurveda in the West include Dr. Bala Manyam, the Maharishi Ayurveda group in Fairfield, Iowa, and Dr. Mano Venkatraman at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Ayurveda is a Recognized Medicine

Ayurvedic practitioners are regularly appointed as an “Honorary Ayurvedic Physician” to the President of India. Every year on the occasion of Dhanvantari Jayanti, a prestigious Dhanvantari Award is conferred on a famous personality of medicine, including a doctor of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is a statutory, recognized medical system of health care like other medical systems existing in India. Ayurvedic medicines have to be approved, registered and licensed by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), which governs and recommends policies for the research and development of the system.

In India, practitioners in Ayurveda undergo five and a half years of training, including one year of internship in select Ayurveda medical schools, where they earn the professional doctorate degree of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery.

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