The main objective of the AB program is to promote the application of basic sciences towards the investigation of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures and products with the materials and methods of Molecular Biology, Immunology and Biological Chemistry.
Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. By definition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India's traditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period and continues to serve 70% of India's rural population. Research in Ayurveda has been dominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, which has a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employs modern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest the absence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead to Ayurveda being regarded as a form of "herbal therapy" as was done by the WaltonCommittee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gut and substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the rich collection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator.
The programme on Ayurvedic Biology was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal ScientificAdvisor to the Government of India. The programme, now reconceived, is being implemented by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Against this background, the SERB constituted a Task Force to promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biology.
Thrust areas of research:
- Rasayana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
- Prakriti and human genomics.
- Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
- Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma