Commercialising Traditional Medicine: Ayurvedic Manufacturing in Kerala

Economic and political weekly 04/2009; 44(16). DOI: 10.2307/40279155


This is an attempt to answer two questions on the manufacture of ayurvedic products in Kerala. First, has the performance of the ayurvedic sector been impressive? Preliminary analysis shows that the ayurvedic industry, which has a concentrated market structure, is growing at a much higher rate than that of overall manufacturing. Considering the fact that the ayurvedic medicinal ingredients are sourced differently, namely, from herbal, metal and mineral substances that cannot be industrially manufactured, the second question is: what are the challenges faced by the ayurvedic medicine manufacturing sector? The paper also throws light on the economic relevance of ayurvedic knowledge and how modern firms have amassed it in a competitive environment

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    • "The call for integrative medicine in the past decade is a response to the process of globalization in which the changes are neither commanded by the vaidyas nor by the government, but by the global market forces for herbal products in which the ayurvedic professionals and the government[v] will play a compliant role.[14–18] There is a huge growth in the export of ayurvedic medicines in the past 10 years and this is expected to grow with the burgeoning demand for herbal products worldwide.[19] Subsidies for the export of raw herbs, digitalization of plant resources, standardization of ayurvedic formulas, and integrative research on herbal ingredients are all measures meant to enhance the ‘safety’ of herbal drugs for the western consumers; they have little to do with Indian consumers for whom accessibility and availability is the criterion. "
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