By Rashika Fazali
In the war between modern and Ayurvedic medicine, many people are now shifting slowly to Ayurvedic medicine as most are fed up with the effects of modern medicine, stated Minister of Indigenous Medicine Salinda Dissanayake.
“The lifestyle we lead may expose us to various non-infectious diseases. Ayurvedic experts have discovered solutions that can cure diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart ailments, kidney diseases and even cancer,” stated Dissanayake. He added that these experts were also finding solutions to cure dangerous sicknesses like HIV AIDS.
These statements were made at the progress meeting held at the auditorium of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) for the international indigenous healthcare exhibition, ‘Ayurveda Expo 2013’ set to kick off on 12 July till 14 July 2013.
Dissanayake noted that six ships full of ola leaves belonging to Sri Lanka were being held in Norway, adding that the have plans to bring the ships back to Sri Lanka.
Dissanayake emphasised that Sri Lanka needs to focus on getting patents for its plants and Ayurvedic knowledge. Citing an example, he stated that India currently uses one of our plants used for curing diabetes, noting that we should protect what we own and have before we head out to reach international standards.
To further promote Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka, he stated that they have plans to get together with the Veddhas who have ancient knowledge on Ayurvedic medicine.
NCCSL Secretary General E.M. Wijetilleke also mentioned that their mission is “to introduce new Ayurvedic products and treatments to locals and foreigners and to export these products”. NCCSL also plans on introducing and raising awareness about such products among all medical institutions in Sri Lanka.
This Ayurvedic exhibition will cater to producers, homeopaths, beauticians, astrologers and serve to educate the general public on the uses of Ayurvedic medicine.
So far, 37 stalls out of the scheduled 110 stalls have been sold while 12 stalls have been allocated for the Ministry. The Ministry will be giving away two stalls free and some at half price. The exhibition will also feature a seminar on 13 July, conducted by professionals. Tickets will be priced at Rs. 3,000.
Advisor to the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine Dr. Newton Peiris stated that such an exhibition would feature all medical institutions on one platform.
Speaking on where Sri Lanka stands when it comes to Ayurvedic medicine, he said: “If we compare Sri Lanka with India, you can see that they have put in a lot of effort to bring Ayurvedic medicine forward. They have learnt this trade from us, but they have surpassed us. Their only challenge is us in the South East Asia region.”
Due to this, Sri Lanka did not sign a MoU with India in regard to Ayurvedic medicine although other countries like Japan did so, stated Peiris. However, Sri Lanka is now in talks with Germany to send Ayurvedic doctors there. He added: “Germany likes Sri Lankan Ayurveda more than India Ayurveda. What we have to do now is train our people well. There is a huge plan for our Ayurvedic doctors in Germany.”
Moreover, he noted that most spas in the country were not up to high standards, adding: “The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine is willing to help those spas to become better.” By doing so, he stated that Sri Lanka would be able to show the foreigners what a traditional spa treatment should entail.
‘Ayurveda Expo 2013’ will be held under the theme ‘Wellness, Lifestyle and Healing’. It will showcase Sri Lanka’s capabilities in treating various illnesses both communicable and non-communicable through indigenous medicine, research findings in the sector, indigenous medical products manufactured in Sri Lanka, indigenous healthcare education facilities and Sri Lanka’s potential as an indigenous healthcare tourist destination.