Expanding the scientific horizon of integrative medicine

This paper in Current Science discusses the future research direction for integrative medicine. Structure of clinical methods and objective outcomes of biomedicine should be integrated for patient examination of Ayurveda. This helps to identify exact clinical features of the disease for selection of herbal formulations. Defining such a holistic clinical presentation is a prerequisite for patient selection before conducting reverse pharmacology studies. The latter will reveal underlying mechanisms of drug action and lead to ‘holistic drug development’.

Integrative medicine (IM), as defined by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is the use of interventions from traditional medical practice alongside biomedical treatments and principles1 . In this special section on Integrative Medicine we discuss the simultaneous use of interventions from biomedicine as well as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for a range of diseases, especially Ayurveda herbals and Yoga, in a framework of biomedical diagnosis with or without its therapies. The special section consolidates pilot studies in IM which have a potential to impact on patient care. Millennia of experience on traditional medicines (TM) and several hundred years of clinical knowledge of biomedicine existing within the healthcare paradigm provide a unique opportunity in India for IM research. Contributions in this special section use IM arising out of Indian systems of medicine for improved continuum of chronic rather than acute care and identify candidate diseases for future IM studies, using clinical biomedical science as the best evidence.

Read the full article in Current Science