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Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Comparative Overview


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Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine (TIM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remain the most ancient yet living traditions. There has been increased global interest in traditional medicine. Efforts to monitor and regulate herbal drugs and traditional medicine are underway. China has been successful in promoting its therapies with more research and science-based approach, while Ayurveda still needs more extensive scientific research and evidence base. This review gives an overview of basic principles and commonalities of TIM and TCM and discusses key determinants of success, which these great traditions need to address to compete in global markets.
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Advance Access Publication 27 October 2005 eCAM 2005;2(4)465–473
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine:
A Comparative Overview
Bhushan Patwardhan
, Dnyaneshwar Warude
, P. Pushpangadan
and Narendra Bhatt
Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Pune, Pune 411 007,
National Botanical Research
Institute, Lucknow 226 001 and
Zandu Pharmaceutical Ltd, Mumbai 400 025, India
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine (TIM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remain the
most ancient yet living traditions. There has been increased global interest in traditional medicine.
Efforts to monitor and regulate herbal drugs and traditional medicine are underway. China has been suc-
cessful in promoting its therapies with more research and science-based approach, while Ayurveda still
needs more extensive scientific research and evidence base. This review gives an overview of basic prin-
ciples and commonalities of TIM and TCM and discusses key determinants of success, which these great
traditions need to address to compete in global markets.
Keywords: Ayurveda Chinese medicine complementary and alternative medicine
traditional medicine
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine (TIM) and tradi-
tional Chinese med icine (TCM) remain the mos t ancient yet
living traditions. These are the two ‘great traditions’ with
sound philosophical, experie ntial and experimental basis.
Increased side effects, lack of curative treatment for several
chronic diseases, high cost of new drugs, microbial resistance
and emergi ng diseases are some reasons for renewed public
interest in complementary and alternative medicines (1).
It has been postulated that by 2010 at least two-thirds of the
United States population will be using one or mor e of the
alternative therapeutic approaches. Use of indigenous drugs
of natural origin forms a major part of such therapies; more
than 1500 herbals are sold as dietary supplements or ethnic
traditional medicines (2). Pharmaceutical companies have
renewed their strategies in favor of natural product drug
development and discovery (3). For instance, in Europe,
AnalytiCon Discovery has stressed on drug discovery based
on natural product chemistry (4). In the Asia-Pacific region,
MerLion Pharmaceuticals in Singapore has comprehensive
structures and capabilities necessary for natural product-
based drug discovery (5). China has successfully promoted
its own therapies over the globe with a science-based
approach. Growing po pularity of TCM can be evidenced by
the rapid increase in number of licensed Chinese medicine pro-
viders in the United States. The Chinese government has
pledged to create several export-oriented TCM giants in the
coming years (6). Continuous efforts in promotion of the indi-
genous therapies by China have put TCM in a commendable
position. Global acceptance of Ayurveda is gearing up and
there has been a steep rise in the demand for medicinal plants
from India (7). The Pharmaceutical Research and Develop-
ment Committee report of Ministry of Chemicals, Government
of India also underscores the importance of traditional know-
ledge (8). The increasing use of traditional therapies demands
more scientifically sound evidence for the principles behind
therapies and for effectiveness of medicines. Recent advance-
ments in the analytical and biological sciences, alon g with
innovations in genomics and proteomics can play an important
role in validation of these therapies. Western scientific com-
munity views traditional med icines cautiously and stress the
concerns related to research, development and quality (9,10).
This review delineates the challenges that TCM and TIM
need to address to become more acceptable to the world
For reprints and all correspondence: Bhushan Patwardhan, PhD,
Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Pune,
Pune 411 007, India. Tel/Fax: þ91-20-25691758;
Ó The Author (2005). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
The online version of this article has been published under an open access model. Users are entitled to use, reproduce, disseminate, or display the open access
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Global Markets, Regulations and Acceptance
The global pharmaceutical market was worth US $550 billion
in 2004 (11) and is expected to exceed US $900 billion by the
year 2008. The herbal industry shares about US $62 billion
with good growth potential. The World Bank reports trade in
medicinal plants, botanical drug products and raw materials
is growing at an annual growth rate between 5 and 15% (12).
Within the European community, botanical medicine repres-
ents an important share of the pharmaceutical market (13);
the nutraceutical sector is also growing rapidly. In 2001, US
$17.8 billion was spent in the United States on dietary supple-
ments, US $4.2 billion of it for botanical remedies (14). In
India the value of botanicals related trade is about US $10 bil-
lion per annum with annual export of US $1.1 billion (15)
while China’s annual herbal drug production is worth US
$48 billion with export of US $3.6 billion (16). Presently, the
United States is the largest market for Indian botanical pro-
ducts accounting for about 50% of the total exports. Japan,
Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore are the major importer of
TCM taking 66% share of China’s botanical drugs export (17).
Globally, there have been concerted efforts to monitor qual-
ity and regulate the growing business of herbal drugs and tradi-
tional medicine. Health authorities and governments of various
nations have taken an active interest in providing standardized
botanical medications. United States Congress has fuelled
rapid growth in the nutraceutical market with passage of the
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994. US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently published
the International Conference on Harmonization guidance
Common Technical Document addressing concerns related to
quality of medicines that also includes herbals (18). The
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
has been inaugurated as the United States Federal Govern-
ment’s lead agency for scientific research in this arena of
medicine. Its mission is to explore complementary and altern-
ative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, sup-
port sophist icated research, train researchers, disseminate
information to the public on the modalities that work and
explain the scientific rationale underlying discoveries. The
center is committed to explore and fund all such therapies for
which there is sufficient preliminary data, compelling public
health need and ethical justifications (19,20). World Health
Organization (WHO) is keen regarding traditional medicine
and has been active in creating strategies, guidelines and stand-
ards of botanical medicines (21). The global scenario illus-
trates vividly both promise and challenges presented by the
traditional medicines. India needs to identify the extent to
which Ayurvedic therapeutics is safe and eff ective so that it
could get wide global acceptance.
Basic Principles: TIM and TCM
Ayurveda and TCM have many commonalities. The focus of
both the systems is on the patient rather than disease. Both sys-
tems fundamentally aim to promote health and enhance the
quality of life, with therapeutic strategies for treatment of spe-
cific diseases or symptoms in holistic fashion. Almost half of
the botanical sources used as medicines have similarities;
moreover, both systems have similar philosophies geared
towards enabling classification of individuals, materials and
diseases. TCM considers the human at the center of the uni-
verse as an antenna between celestia l and earthly elements.
Water, earth, metal, wood and fire are the five elements of
the material world. The world is a single unit and its movement
gives rise to yin and yang, the two main antithetic aspects. The
actual meaning of the term yin and yang is ‘oppos ites’, such as
the positive and the negative. However, Chinese believe that
yin and yang is not absolute but relative. Consistent with the
modern view of homeostasis, yin and yang are interchanged
to meet the view that ‘yang declines and yin rises’ or ‘yang
is raised to produce a decline of yin’. The four bodily
humors (qi, blood, moisture and essence) and internal organ
systems (zang fu) play an important role in balancing the yin
and yang in human body. Proper formation, maintenanc e and
circulation of these energies are essential for health. When
the two energies fall out of harmony, disease develops. The
physician takes into account this concept while treating
patients. Drugs or herbs are used to correct this imbalance of
yin–yang in the human body (22,23).
Ayurveda considers that the universe is made up of combina-
tions of the five elements (pancha mahabhutas). These are aka-
sha (ether), vayu (air), teja (fire), aap (water) and prithvi
(earth). The five elements can be seen to exist in the material
universe at all scales of life and in both organic and inorganic
things. In biological system, such as humans, elements are
coded into three forces, which govern all life processes. These
three forces (kapha, pitta and vata) are known as the three
doshas or simply the tridosha. Each of the doshas is composed
of one or two elements. Vata is composed of space and air,
Pitta of fire, and kapha of water and earth. Vata dosha has
the mobility and quickness of space and air; pitta dosha the
metabolic qualities of fire; kapha dosha the stability and solid-
ity of water and earth. The tridosha regulates every physiolo-
gical and psychological process in the living organism. The
interplay among them determines the qualities and conditions
of the individual. A harmonious state of the three doshas cre-
ates balance and health; an imbalance, which might be an
excess (vriddhi) or deficiency (kshaya), manifests as a sign
or symptom of disease (24,25) (Figs 1 and 2).
Determinants of Success
Quality of the Botanical Drugs
Consistency in composition and biological activity are essen-
tial requirements for the safe and effective use of therapeutic
agents. Quality is the critical determinant of safety and effi-
cacy of botanical medicines; however, botanical preparations
rarely meet the standards of quality, which refers to procedures
and markers for assessing and verifying the strength of botan-
ical raw materials or extracts or formulations thereof (26).
466 Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine
Chromatographic techniques and chemic al marker assisted
characterization of the botanicals does not ensure consistent
biological activity or stability (27). Therefore, production of
quality botanical medicines has become a challenge to regulat-
ory authorities, scientific organizations and manufacturers.
WHO (28), USFDA (29), European Scientific Cooperative
on Phytomedicine (ESCOP) (30) have published standard
sets of guidelines to address the concerns. Some of the pro-
gressive manufacturers follow them to provide standardized
botanical medicine. In India, about 9000 licensed units manu-
facture traditional medicines with or without proper standard-
ization (31). Indian manufacturers general ly follow WHO
guidelines for quality control. Adulteration of market sam ples
remains a major problem in domestic and export markets of
Indian herbal products. Chemical analysis of some antiarthr itic
medicines from Ayurv eda has led to a finding that synthetic
anti-inflammatory drugs like phenylbutazone, indomethacin
and/or corticosteroids have been added (32). Heavy metals
Basic principles of TCM
Symbol for yin and yang
Mutual nourishment cycle
Mutual restraint cycle
Small intestine
Large intestine
Urinary bladder
Gall bladder
Figure 1. Basic principles of TCM.
Figure 2. Basic principles of TIM: relation of pancha mahabhutas and
eCAM 2005;2(4) 467
such as mercury, arsenic and lead contam ination has also
become a critical problem (33,34). Market botanicals are
stored under undesirable conditions over the years and may
have contamination or adulteration of other materials, which
thereby adversely affect the efficacy and sometimes even add
to toxicity. Lack of proper processing of the materials even
by pharmaceutical firms contributes to decline of the herbal
business. Availability of the desired genotype of plan t in the
required quantity, free from toxic contaminants and with
desired therapeutic activity have also become a critical issue
(35). China has successfully overcome such difficulties by
modernizing its traditional medicine profession with
government-sponsored Good Agricultural Polici es (GAPs) and
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). GAPs stresses selec-
tion of the correct germplasm with high content of stable active
components. The cultivation practices offer Standard Operat-
ing Procedures for use of fertilizers, irrigation systems and dis-
ease management allied with insects and pest prevention and
cure. GAPs also establish standards for noxious and harmful
contaminants like heavy metals, pesticide residues and
microbes in plants. All manufactures of TCM are mandated
to comply with guidelines laid down by China’s State Drug
Administration (SDA) by 2004 and farms producing raw
ingredients must comply with SDA-imposed standards by
2007. As a result, 1470 companies have qualified for GMPs
while 570 failed to meet the standards (36). For marketing of
herbal medicine in China, special requirements such as quality
dossier, safety and efficacy evaluation and specific labeling
criteria are required. New herbal drugs must be approved
according to the Drug Administration Laws.
Similar integrated efforts are needed to raise the image of
Ayurvedic medicines in the global business. Gove rnment of
India has promulgated GMP regulations for traditional systems
of medicines to improve the quality and standard of
Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drugs in pharmacies. New rules
delineating essential infrastructure, manpower and quality
control requirements came into force from 2000 and form
part of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (37). Licensing of
Ayurvedic medicine is also governed under drug and cosmet-
ics act, 1940. Ayurvedic Patent and Proprietary medicines
need to contain only the ingredients mentioned in the recom-
mended books as specified in the Act. For any new herbal
medicine safety and eff icacy data are mandatory. Depending
on nature of herbs and market availability, different require-
ments exist for submis sion of clinical trial and safety data.
Standardization of herbal drugs is not just an analytical
operation for identification and assay of active principles;
rather, it comprises total information and controls to necessar-
ily guarantee consistent composition of all herbals. A good
example of this is a polyherbal formulation (Artrex
) designed
for the treatment of arthritis that contains four botanicals. The
formulation, standardized using modern scientific tools and
with known markers, has been granted a US patent (38). Valid-
ated agro-industrial technologies should be applied for cultiva-
tion and processing of medicinal plants and manufacturing of
herbal medicines. Indian herbal drug industry needs to ensure
procurement of standardized authentic raw material free from
toxic contaminants. Improving processing technologies, con-
ducting all operations under GMP compliance and mainten-
ance of in-process quality control for manufacturing quality
herbal products also need evidence for therapeutic efficacy,
safety and shelf life. Such approaches remain important in
global promotion of Ayurveda.
Government Policies
In China and India formal training is an integral part of the
national health program, which helps in ensuring quality stand-
ards in health care delivery. China became successful in integ-
rating TCM in the national health care system. Scie nce-based
approaches were utilized and inculcated in the education of
TCM with emphasis on research. Hospitals practicing TCM
treat more than 200 million outpatients and almost 3 million
inpatients annually. About 95% of general hospitals in China
have traditional medicine departments (39).
Government of India also has expresse d support and encour-
agement for the TIM. A separate department for Indian Sys-
tems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) now known as
AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy)
was established in March 1995 to promote indigenous sys-
tems. Priorities include education, standardization of drugs,
enhancement of availability of raw materials, research and
development, information, communication and larger involve-
ment in the national system for delivering health care. The
Central Council of Indian Medicine oversees teaching and
training institutes while Central Council for Research in
Ayurveda and Siddha deals with interdisciplinary research.
Some TIM products are being added into family welfare pro-
grams of the government under the World Bank project. These
medicines are mainly for common diseases like anemia, edema
during pregnancy, postpartum problems such as pain, uterine
and abdominal complications, difficulties with lactation, nutri-
tional deficiencies and childhood diarrhea (40). The govern-
ment has also established 10 new drug testing laboratories
for TIM and is upgrading existing laboratories to provide
documented high quality evidence to licensing authorities for
the safety and quality of herbal medicines. This replaces the
earlier ad hoc system of testing that was considered unreliable.
In 2002, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has
launched a rese arch program under New Millennium Indian
Technology Leadership Initiative scheme in Ayurveda identi-
fying three disease areas such as arthritis, diabetes and
hepatic disorders, which afflict large numbers of the Indian
Many additional concerns need to be addressed. The quality
of education in many colleges needs to be improved. Unde r the
pretext of integration, attempts to make hybrid curricula pro-
ducing inadequately trained graduates remain unacceptable
for either modern or traditional systems (41). A paucity of
funds is noticeable; ISM&H gets only 2% of the total health
budget of the nation. A corrective and promotive policy
needs to be initiated for TIM to fully realize its potential and
468 Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine
contribute more meaningfully to integrative health services.
The industry has not been able to grow and develop optimally
during the last few decades. Largely, the achieved growth is
owing to industry’s own initiatives, in-house research and
development. A national organization, Ayurvedic Drugs
Manufacturers’ Association is taking a proactive role to
improve quality and research that needs to be nurtured, stimu-
lated and sustained by providing special funding or incentives.
Preparation of formularies and pharmacopoeial standards
have been attempted but a lot remains to be done. Numbers of
Indian botanical sources and their medicinal uses as in case of
turmeric have been patented by claiming innovations that are
already in the public domain. Necessary measures to protect
such intellectual property are important as the retrieval and con-
testing of patents is a very costly and time-consuming affair
(42). For this purpose, the Government of India has established
a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on traditional medi-
cinal plants, which will also lead to a Traditional Knowledge
Resource Classification (43). Linking this to internationally
accepted International Patent Classification system will mean
building the bridge between the knowledge contained in an
old Sanskrit text and a patent examiner. This may control the
problem of mistakingly granting patents since the examiner
will know the Indian rights to that knowledge. It could integrate
widely scattered and distributed references on TIM in retriev-
able form and will be a major impetus to modern research in
the developing world.
Natural products extracts of therapeutic relevance are of para-
mount importance as reservoirs of structural and chemical
diversity. A recent review on national pharmacopoeias from
several countri es reveals at least 120 distinct chemical sub-
stances from different plants that have utility as lifesaving
drugs (44). This has been achieved through chemical and phar-
macological screening of only 6% of the total plant species.
Untapped, hidden wealth in the flora needs to be unearthed
and explored to cure diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes,
etc. Recently, NIH has started extensive research for anti-
inflammatory compounds from turmeric, ginger and boswellia
with the aid of Ayurvedic knowledge. Screening of different
plants for novel anticancer compounds is also in progress
with reference experiential data from traditional systems
(45). Botanical immunodrugs from traditional medicine can
provide newer opportunities to bioprospect diverse and syner-
gistic chemical moieties, which in combination might act on
multiple targets and improve the therapeutic spectrum (46).
PUBMED, Google scholar and Science direct are the widely
recognized web databases of scientific literature. We have
given comparative citations for Indian and Chinese medicine
using different key words and also provided the patent data
of USPTO. Visibility of Ayurvedic medicine remains much
lower as compared with TCM (Table 1).
Chinese medicine became successful in crossing philosoph-
ical barriers through constant reworking of the basic system.
The first compound derived from Chinese herbal remedies to
enter the western market was ephedrine, an amphetamine-
like stimulant from ma huang (Ephedra sinica). The next
was artimisinin, a potent antimalarial from qinghao (Artemisia
annua). In 2003, Chinese researchers launched a phase II trial
to test the efficacy of a drug called kanglai te from iijen (Coix
lachryma-jobi) for treating non-small-cell lung cancer (47).
This is the first drug from TCM to enter clinical trials in the
United States. Other drug molecules from TCM are xue
baoPG2 (general tonic from Astragalus membracaceus) and
camptothecin analogs as CPT11 and topotecan (anticancer
from Camptotheca accuminata), which have a huge market.
In 2002, 1141 different traditional plant drugs were registered
for their therapeutic activities including several new single
compounds from plants as arteannuin (antimalarial), indirubin
(anticancer), etc. One of the twelve focal points in the current
Five-Year Plan of China’s Ministry of Science and Techno-
logy is to modernize research in TCM. Pharmacopoeia of the
People’s Republic of China (2000) (48) contains 992 mono-
graphs of Chinese crude drugs and traditional Chinese patent
medicines in which 76 new admissions and 248 monographs
have been revised. Controlled clinical trials have been initiated
at several hospitals and research organizations to prove the
efficacy and safety of the Chinese medicine (49,50). Recent
reports on adverse effects of drug like ma huang (51) and
gingko (52) have sounded a cautionary note that promoting tra-
ditional medicine from conception to commercialization will
not be easy.
India has world-class expertise and facilities for organic
synthesis, isolation and structure elucidation, biological
screening, toxicological testing and pharmacokinetics. This is
supplemented by the expertise for development of agro-
technology for cultivation of medicinal plants. Industry parti-
cipation to ensure successful upscaling and implementation
of technol ogy is increasing. Generation of leads with structural
diversities through creation of natural product libraries, identi-
fication of proper targets and their proper validation and
optimization is of paramount importance (53). India has
Table 1. Citations and patent data for Indian and Chinese medicine (as on
September 10, 2005)
Database Key words:
Key words:
PubMed Ayurvedic
1045 Chinese
10 278
TIM 361 TCM 6847
Science Direct Ayurvedic
87 Chinese
TIM 77 TCM 612
Google scholar Ayurvedic
4220 Chinese
476 000
TIM 32 900 TCM 68 300
US patent granted Ayurvedic
3 Chinese
US patent filed Ayurvedic
26 Chinese
eCAM 2005;2(4) 469
progressive research institutes like Central Drug Research
Institute (CDRI), Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic
Plants and National Botanical Research Institute at Lucknow,
Regional Research Laboratories (RRL), at Jammu,
Bhubaneshwar and Jorhat, National Chemical Laboratory at
Pune, which routinely undertake research on medicinal plants.
Most of them are involved in standardizing the herbal medi-
cines and isolating active compounds. Few selected crops
have been taken for improvement yet there is a need for
research on quality planting materials for farmers, conserva-
tion of endangered species and to prevent exploitation of the
natural resources. Reserpine (antihypertensive from rauwolfia)
is an extremely valuable contribution from Ayurvedic systems.
Curcumin (54) (anti-inflammatory from turmeric), withaferin
A (55) (anti-inflammatory from ashwagandha), kutkoside
(56) (hepatoprotective from kutki), andrographolide (57) (hep-
atoprotective from andrographis) and vasicine (58) (bron-
chodilator and expectorant from vasaka) are chemical entities
with attractive scaffolds for drug discovery.
Controlled clinical trials are important to develop evidence
for safety and efficacy. Results from clinical trials are encour-
aging (59), but lot more clinical research is required to estab-
lish validity of the system. Ayurvedic preparations have been
successfully evaluated for treatment of bronchial asth ma
(60,61), rheumatoid arthritis (62), ischaemic heart disease
(63,64). Piperine from pipali has come out as a bioenhancer
in recent clinical evaluation (65,66). Botanicals like Withania
somnifera (67); Asparagus racemosus (68) have exhibited sig-
nificant vaccine adjuvant activity in experimental systems,
which have valuable applications in immunobiological indus-
try. An IND application of Lupin Ltd. is in process and a US
patent has been granted for development of herbal-based anti-
psoriatic composition containing Argemone mexicana (69).
Standardized fraction of gugulipid from Commiphora wightii
developed by CDRI has been marketed (Guglip
, Cipla Ltd)
for treating hyperlipidemia and atheriosclerosis (70). RRL
Jammu has commercialized Boswellia serrata gum resin as
NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) (Sallaki
Gufic). It is also hypolipidemic.
A multicentric study by the Indian Council of Medical
Research (ICMR) showed promising results that a preparation
from Pterocarpus marsupium was effective in reducing levels
of blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin in patients
with non-insulin-d ependent diabetes mellitus (71). Analysis
of most frequently used plant based therapies in Ayurvedic
system revealed that 43% of them have been tested on humans
while 62% have been the subject of one or more animal stud-
ies. Among these drugs having sufficient clinical data are gug-
gul, brahmi, ashwagandha, amlaki, guduchi, kutki, shatavari
and shunthi (72) Pharmacopoeia of India (1996) (73) covers
few botanical monographs like clove, gugg ul, opium, mentha,
senna, and ashwagandha. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of
India gives monographs for 258 different Ayurvedic drugs.
The standards mentioned are quite inadequate to build quality
of the botanical materials (74). Indian Drug Manufacturers
Association has published Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia
(2002) (75) with 52 monographs on widely used medicinal
plants growing in India where scientific data have been
Harmonization and validation of the complex proce ss of
Ayurvedic therapeutics remain important. Novel efforts like
Ayugenomics (76) aim to understand Ayurvedic concept of
Prakruti from pharmcogenomics perspective to provide a
base for human classification, diagnostics and customized
medicine (77). Projects like AyuSoft (78) aim to develop
intelligent and interactive software based on Ayurvedic clas-
sics as a decision support system. New analytical approaches
like Herboprint (79) use three-dimensional HPLC and
attempt to develop tools for activity-based standardization of
Supporting Systems
Apart from the drug manufacturer, many other supporting
industries play important roles in commerce of traditional
medicine. The whole pipeline covers collectors and breeders,
dealers of the plant materials, processing and manufacturing
industry, practitioners of traditional medicine and finally the
consumers. Presently, Indian systems of medicine use more
than 1100 medicinal plants of which most are collected from
the wild. More than 60 species are in great demand (80). The
tribal belt of India is rich in these plants and the tribes mainly
depend on this trade for livelihood. There are ample of oppor-
tunities for adulteration and contamination in the process.
Thus, the adequate availability of quality raw materials free
from adulterants at reasonable prices have become a big prob-
lem for industry and the demand is increasing every year.
However, very few efforts have been made either by govern-
ment or by industry to seriously study the supply and demand.
Similar to China, India needs to follow GAPs to ensure the use
of correct raw materials and cover the entire life cycle includ-
ing the harvesting, processing, transportation and storage.
Chinese government has developed more than 100 research
units and encouraged private enterprises to build over 600
standard planting bases for herbs in great demand. Selection
of the correct germplasm using modern DNA fingerprinting
and chemoprofiling techniques is also a priority (81). India is
emerging as a leader in generic drugs and is exporting them
to developed countries. This is a result of adopting standard
guidelines and GMPs. However, TIM has yet to capitalize on
the quality herbal medicine where GAPs are.
New experiments are beginning to emerge on benefit sharing
models for indigenous innovation. For example, Trichopus
zeylanicus, found in the tropical forests of southwestern India
was collected by the ‘Kani’ tribal peopl e (a traditionally
nomadic community from the forests of the Agasthyamalai
hills in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, India).
Scientists at the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research
Institute (TBGRI) in Kerala discovered uses of this plant that
are claimed to boost the immune system. Chemical and phar-
macological investigations carried out initially at RRL, Jammu
and later at TBGRI showed that the leaves of the plant
470 Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine
contained various glycolipids and some other non-steroidal
compounds with profound adaptogenic and immune-
enhancing properties (82,83). The fruits showed mainly
antifatigue properties. TBGRI was successful in developing a
scientifically validated and standardized herbal drug, based
on the tribal lea d (84). The drug was named ‘Jeevani and
Arya Vaidya Pharmacy released it for commercial produc-
tion in 1995 (85). TBGRI agreed to equally share the royalty
with the tribal community. This experiment was acknow-
ledged by UNDP by conferring a special award to the con-
cerned scientists (86).
Numerous drugs have entered the international market through
exploration of ethnopharmacology and traditional medicine.
Progress in genomics and proteomics has opened new gate-
ways in therapeutics and drug discovery and development.
Better understanding of the human genome has helped in
understanding scientific basis of individual variation. Drug
targets have evolved during the last decade, but the industry
remains target-rich and lead-poor trapped in the old mindset
and strategies. TIM and TCM, carry many generations’ obser-
vations that have well-organized and documented data (87).
Although scientific studies have been done on a large number
of Indian botanicals, a considerably smaller number of market-
able drugs or phytochemical entities have entered the
evidence-based therapeutics. China has successfully promoted
its own therapies and drugs like ginseng, ma huang and gingko
with scientific evidences acceptable for the global community.
Approach of integrative medicine by selective incorporation of
elements of TCM alongside the mode rn methods of diagnosis
has achieved a great success in China (88).
India needs a clear policy for such integration without com-
promise on the strategies that are science-based. Efforts are
needed to establish and validate pharmacoepidemiological
evidence regarding safety and practice of Ayurvedic medicines
(89). Pharmacoeconomic studies on TIM and TCM are rare,
but can help in understanding cost-effectiveness and cost-
benefit of traditional medicine. In all such attempts, TCM
examples would help India at various levels including policies,
quality standards, integration practices, research models and
the complementary integration where public health is kept at
the central position. Both TIM and TCM are great traditions
with strong philosophical basis and could play an important
role in new therapies, drug disc overy and development
We thank Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,
New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative
Herbal Drug Development Group for discussions. Financial
assistance from the University Grants Commission to one of
the authors (D.W.) is also gratefully acknowledged.
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eCAM 2005;2(4) 473
... The 'Ojas score', which signifies immune function, was found to be significantly improved after 3 mo of administration of both the Ayurvedic interventions studied (Mamajjaka and Shilajatu) as well as the control treatment, and the improvement caused by both the Ayurvedic interventions was found to be significantly higher than that seen with the control treatment [35]. Finally, the number of COVID-19 patients with positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction results was zero, after 10 d of treatment with either Vyagradhi Kashaya, ginger-garlic, or Vitamin C [36]. ...
... Nine of the 19 included studies did not report the safety profile of the Ayurvedic intervention, and eight studies reported not finding any new safety signals of concern. Rais et al [36] reported that 2/40 patients +: Evidence suggests significant immune enhancement; +/-: Ambiguous, confusing, or incomplete results; -: Evidence does not suggest significant immune enhancement. 1 Sample size is 5 participants; significance values of any results not reported in the paper. ...
... We also observed some discomforting points about the included studies. Seven of the 20 interventions studied [19,20,25,28,32,34,36] were composite mixtures of a variety of Ayurvedic ingredients. By the nature of these individual studies, it is not possible to determine which component/s of these composite ingredients have prominent and contributory effect towards immune enhancement and which components have secondary roles such as excipients, flavoring and coloring agents or other non-essential functions. ...
Full-text available
Background: Many Ayurvedic preparations are claimed to have immune-boosting properties, as suggested in various published randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Aim: To compile evidence on the nature and mechanism of immune system enhancement by Ayurvedic preparations in healthy and sick individuals. Methods: After prospectively registering study protocol with PROSPERO, we searched PubMed, DOAJ, Google Scholar, three dedicated Ayurveda research portals, two specialty Ayurveda journals, and reference lists for relevant records published until February 6, 2021 using appropriate search strategies. Baseline features and data pertaining to the nature and mechanism of immune system function were extracted from all eligible records. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane RoB-2 tool. Results: Of 12554 articles screened, 19 studies reporting 20 RCTs (17 parallel group design, three crossover design) with 1661 unique patients were included; 11/19 studies had Indian first authors. Healthy population was included in nine studies, of which one study included pregnant women and two included pediatric population; remaining studies included patients with different health conditions, including one study with coronavirus disease 2019 patients. A total of 21 Ayurvedic interventions were studied, out of which five were composite mixtures. The predominant route of administration was oral; dose and frequency of administration of the intervention varied across the studies. The results reported with five RCTs exploring five Ayurvedic interventions were incomplete, ambiguous, or confusing. Of the remaining 16 interventions, indirect evidence of immune enhancement was reported with four interventions, while lack of the same was reported with two interventions. Enhancement of T helper cells and natural killer cells was reported with three and four interventions, respectively, while the pooled results did not clearly point toward enhancement of other components of the immune system, including cytotoxic T cells, B lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, cytokines, complement components, leucocyte counts, and other components. Nine of the 20 RCTs had a high risk of bias, and the remaining 11 RCTs had some concerns according to RoB-2. Conclusion: Various Ayurvedic preparations appear to enhance the immune system, particularly via enhancements in natural killer cells and T helper cells.
... Since time immemorial, human beings have been reliant on plants for their food, medicines, flavors, and many more other uses. If we analyze the ancient records of many civilizations, they provide strong evidence of using medicinal plants and their extracts (Cowan, 1999); for example, Ayurveda records the use of medicinal plants to treat many ailments (Micke et al., 2009;Patwardhan et al., 2005). Demand for medicinally important plant species is increasing continually and renders many species critically endangered (Sharma et al., 2010). ...
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... This has led to a blending of three greater civilizations [23][24][25]. That is why ancient ayurvedic wisdom shares many commonalities with Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) [26]. There are certain geographic limitations that impose a sustainable food-cum-medicine use strategy of indigenous flora as an imperative of survival in almost all areas of upper Indus basin (UIB) including District Diamer [27]. ...
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Majority of the mountain dwelling communities living in the Himalayas rely on traditional herbal medicines for primary healthcare needs. Present study was conducted in fairy meadows and allied valleys in District Diamir, Gilgit Baltistan autonomous territory in northern Pakistan. Documentation of traditional medicinal knowledge (TMK) of local communities for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders was carried out as a component of a wider medico-botanical expedition conducted in the entire base camp of the great Nanga Parbat peak during 2016-19. Various ethnobotanical parameters i.e. use value (UV), informant consensus factor (ICF), Fidelity level (FL), direct matrix ranking test (DMRT) and preference ranking (PR) were applied to evaluate the data collected during field surveys. The plants were also subjected to a comparative review for novelty assessment. A total of 61 medicinal plant species belonging to 55 genera and 35 families are reported here for the treatment of GIDs. Compositae was the leading family with 8 (13%) species. Fourteen gastrointestinal disorders were cured with 32% taxon were reported for stomachic followed by diarrhea (15%) and constipation (14%). Highest use reports (5) and use citations (207) were reported for Mentha longifolia L. while highest UV (1.79) was obtained for Artemisia maritima L. Hylotelephium telephioides (Ledeb.), A. maritima, M. longifolia, M. piperita L., Allium cepa L., and A. annua L. exhibited 100% FL. Highest ICF was calculated against dysentery and flatulence. DMRT ranked Prunus persica L. first for its multipurpose uses. Taking constipation as a reference gastrointestinal disease, PR for ten plant species was calculated where H. telephioides was ranked first followed by A. maritima. Present study concluded that 19 out of 61 plant species were documented for the first time with novel medicinal uses to cure GIDs. These plant species could act as potential reservoirs of novel lead compounds for the treatments of gastrointestinal disorders.
... Recently, the exploitation of medicinal herbs as alternative medicines in curing various types of diseases and infections has exponentially increased. This is due to the conservative claim that these products are safe and free from side effects as been embraced in the ancient traditional Chinese, Greek-Unani and Ayurveda medicines (Patwardhan et al. 2005). ...
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Syzygium polyanthum (Wight) Walp. var. polyanthum (serai kayu) leaves is a popular herb and widely used in traditional medicine. Despite the ethnomedicinal benefits, very limited studies have researched on the toxicity of this plant. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential effects of methanolic extract of Syzygium polyanthum (MESP) leaves via 28-day repeated oral dosing in Sprague Dawley rats. MESP leaves was administered at doses of 0 (control), 400, 1000 or 2000 mg/kg to an equal number of male and female rats (n = 10/group). Results obtained indicated that MESP did not affect the general conditions (body weight, feed intake and oestrous cycle) and apparent behavioural changes of the rats. Biochemical parameters revealed a slight significant variation in the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level between the male rats treated with the lowest and highest doses of MESP, but these findings were both statistically insignificant when compared to the control group. The liver of the males (dose 1000 and 2000 mg/kg/day) also exhibited histoarchitectural defects on the hepatocytes and cytoplasm when compared to those of the control group. In contrast, female rats did not encounter any significant findings in all parameters tested. In conclusion, this study suggests that the MESP leaves might exhibit sex-based variation effects and thus, the use of this extract particularly at higher doses should be thoroughly considered.
... Traditional indigenous knowledge is an easily accessible and affordable method for the treatment of various ailments, such as stomach disorders, skin infections, rheumatism, respiratory disorders and many others (Seth, 2003;Qureshi and Ghufran, 2005;Adnan and Holscher, 2011). Thus, the increase in the use of traditional medicinal systems demands scientific evidence behind the effectiveness and therapies of medicinal plants (Patwardhan et al., 2005). However, due to rapid transformations and modernization in society, there is a depletion of plant resources and traditional ethnobotanical knowledge from society. ...
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The importance of medicinal plants in traditional health care practices has long been recognized as a source of biodiversity conservation and research. However, many remote areas of Himachal Pradesh lack information upon the usage of plants for medicinal purposes. The current study was conducted in Kangra Valley (district Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India) from March 2020 to August 2021 for the documentation of ethnomedicinal plants. Information on the ethnomedicinal plants was collected through extensive field visits using a pretested questionnaire, interviews and group discussions with the selected informants. Data collected from the study site were analysed using three different quantitative indices, viz., use-value, informant consensus factor (ICF) and fidelity level (Fl), (%) to check the importance and homogeneity of traditional ethnomedicinal knowledge among the informants of the study site. A total of 116 informants were selected using the snowball sampling technique. The rural inhabitants of the study area reported a total of 108 plants belonging to 51 families and 95 genera. A maximum number of plant species was reported from the Fabaceae (9) family, followed by Rosaceae (6), Moraceae (5) and Euphorbiaceae (5). The plant part that was most frequently used for the preparation of traditional remedies includes leaves (31%), followed by fruits (13%), whole plants (12%), bark (11%), roots (10%) and flowers (8%). Most of the plant species were used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders (73), followed by dermatological (55) and respiratory disorders (38). The informants reported that the younger generation was not very interested in traditional knowledge due to cultural changes and the acceptance of Western culture. As a result, documenting traditional knowledge and ethnomedicinal plants from various parts of the world is critical. It not only helps in the documentation but also helps in the conservation and protection of endemic and endangered medicinal plants globally.
... Plant chemistry has been developed over the years as a definite discipline between natural product chemistry and plant organic chemistry. It is related to the wide range of organic substances that are produced and accumulated by plants, deals with the chemical components, structures of these substances, their biosynthesis, metabolism and biological function [5,6]. ...
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Medicinal plants are rich treasure for nutrition and are considered as bio-medicine in day-today life. Simaroubaglauca is an Indian traditional medicinal plant commonly called as "Paradise Tree or Lakshmi Taru" worldwide due to its potent medicinal stuff. The goal of this study was to determine several phytochemicals, antinutritional factors and proximate analysis in the S. glauca seeds. Ethyl acetate extract of seeds of S. glauca was analyzed for the qualitative and quantitative phytochemicals by various validated methods. To determine the anti-nutritional factor used the different physical processes to identify oxalate, phytate, saponins and tannins following standard methods. In the qualitative method of phytochemicals exhibited positive Steroids and Triterpenoids, Alkaloids, Tannins, Flavonoids, Glycosides and Carbohydrates and in the quantitative method of phytochemicals found total flavonoid content highest at 80µg concentration of extract exhibited 2.152 µg/ml, total proanthocyanidin content highest at 80µg concentration of extract exhibited 2.246 µg/ml and in total phenol content highest at 100µg concentration extract of exhibited 2.450 µg/ml. The seeds of S. glauca were subjected to processing treatments like roasting and Soaking to reduce or inactivate the anti-nutritional factors and the results of roasted seeds exhibit moderate concentrations of oxalates and saponins, lower concentrations of tannins and phytates. Similarly, in soaked seeds also exhibited higher concentrations of tannins and oxalates, moderate concentration of saponins, whereas the lower concentrations in phytates. The seeds of S.glauca are subjected to proximate analysis to determine the crude composition and were found to have 8.6 % moisture, 1.5 % ash, 8.1 % fibers, 40.2 % fats, 25.5 % proteins and 16.1 % carbohydrates.
... In the history, some ayurvedic products are used in the prevention and treatment of some common diseases such as childhood diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, lactation difficulties, abdominal complications, postpartum problems such as uterine complications and pain, edema during pregnancy and anemia (Patwardhan et al., 2005). ...
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Background: Plant based traditional health care is one of the ancient remedies used to prevent and treat many health-related disorders. Due to increasing cost of medicine in the modern era, people are now moving towards the utilization of ancient ethno medicinal plants-based remedies to prevent and treat diseases as well as to maintain their health. Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem has been used since ancient times as ethno medicinal plant due to its pharmacological and therapeutic potential. Different parts of this plant including leaves, fruit, bark, seeds and flowers can be used to prevent many diseases. Many structurally complex and biologically active components can be extracted and utilized from different parts of neem. Purpose: Purpose of this review is to highlight the importance of different parts of neem as they contain various biologically active components that are beneficial in prevention and treatment of various health related disorders. Method: Science direct, Google scholar, Web of Science and PubMed were accessed to review the therapeutic potential of neem in different diseases. Results: Neem has been demonstrated to exhibit anti-cancer, immunostimulant, orodental, skin protection, neuropharmacological, ulcer treating, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-hyperglycemic, antioxidant, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective, renal protection and hematological parameters maintaince properties. Conclusion: There is no evidence of adverse effects of neem in literature. Only the people who are allergic to it can have side effects otherwise it is stomach friendly in all conditions due to which it can be used for treatment of various health related disorders.
Ayurveda is a science of life with a holistic approach to health and personalized medicine. It is one of the oldest medical systems, which comprises thousands of medical concepts and hypothesis. Interestingly, Ayurveda has ability to treat many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma, which are untreatable in modern medicine. Unfortunately, due to lack of scientific validation in various concepts, this precious gift from our ancestors is trailing. Hence, evidence-based research is highly needed for global recognition and acceptance of Ayurveda, which needs further advancements in the research methodology. The present review highlights various fields of research including literary, fundamental, drug, pharmaceutical, and clinical research in Ayurveda. The review further focuses to improve the research methodology for Ayurveda with main emphasis on the fundamental research. This attempt will certainly encourage young researchers to work on various areas of research for the development and promotion of Ayurveda.
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Abiotic stresses are important limiting factors that limit the yields of crops. Plants need to develop such mechanisms that help in dealing with the harsh environment and soil health. Medicinal plants are important due to their medicinal, aesthetic, and bioactive phytochemical characteristics. Microorganisms display metabolic abilities to reduce stress in diverse environments. The beneficial microbes reside outside or inside plant tissues and perform numerous activities that control phytopathogens. They also include plant growth‐promoting bacteria, such as endophytes present in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere. As microbes are the natural partners of plants, they ameliorate the effect of a harsh environment. Plant–microbe interaction is essential for the ecosystem. Plant–microbe interaction encompasses the complex mechanism inside the cell. Physiological, biochemical, and molecular studies help understand the complicated and integrated processes of plant–microbe interaction. Due to environmental changes and incessant stress, it is very important to distinguish and access information on plant–microbe interaction concerning defense against abiotic stresses. Multi‐omics studies about plant–microbe interaction and their environment provide a deeper insight and provide multi‐layered information that has a substantial chance for practical execution. In this chapter, we review the structure and function of microbiota, the physiological and molecular response of plant and microbiota against stress, and microbe‐mediated mitigation of abiotic stresses. Additionally, how plant root exudates attract microbes that play a role in biological control has also been reviewed.
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The aim of the current study was to examine the efficacy of the leaf, stem and rhizome of Curcuma aeruginosa Roxb. for their phytochemical content, antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. The different parts of C. aeruginosa were subjected to sequential extraction to give three fractions viz., hexane, ethyl acetate and methanol extract. The cytotoxic effect and the mode of action against A-549 human lung adenocarcinoma and HeLa cell lines were examined. C. aeruginosa presented no significant toxic effect in normal human lung cells (L-132). The methanol extracts were found to be the most cytotoxic and further investigation was carried out to understand the effects. The methanol extracts induced DNA damage after 24 h with significant increase in tail DNA and tail moment when compared to untreated control. Up-regulation in the expression of the caspase − 8 and − 3 activity was observed after 48 h of treatment. The mechanism of cell death and apoptosis induced by the methanol extracts on A549 and HeLa cells were studied using fluorescent staining. Bioactive compounds detected from the HPLC revealed phenol and flavonoid compounds: Gallic acid, quercetin, caffeic acid, kaempferol, rutin, coumaric acid and naringenin. GC-MS results identified the presence of sesquiterpenoids: α-curcumene, curzerene curcumenol, curzerenone epicurzerenone, caryophyllene oxide and diterpenoid, andrographolide. These compounds are known for inducing apoptosis in human cancer cells through caspase - dependent pathways. Therefore, C. aeruginosa and its potential to induce apoptosis in cancer cells suggest that they have potential in medical applications.
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Discusses the regulation, quality, safety, and efficacy of herbal medical remedies. This paper also highlights individual herbs, such as ginkgo, hawthorn, saw palmetto, and St. John's wort. In conclusion, recommendations for clinicians are given regarding herbal remedies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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There are 2,50,000 known species of higher plants on the Earth and and some more may be discovered. Of these, only six per cent have been analysed chemically and only a small fraction pharmacologically. According to pharmacopoeia of the world, at least 119 distinct chemical substances derived from plants are important drugs currently-used within 62 therapeutic categories, and 91 species are the source of these drugs. India has a vast reservoir of 400, 000 Ayurvedic, Siddha, Uninani or Homoeopathic practioners, hardly used adequately in the health care delivery system. Nearly 80 per cent of drugs used in Indian system of medicine and homoeopathy are derived from plants. With 46, 000 licensed pharmacies manufacturing and satisfying the needs of traditional remedies, large-scale cultivation of medicinal plants must be planned. A number of CSIR laboratories, University departments and hospitals, other scientific institutions are participating in the further evaluation and finetuning of such drugs through use of modern methods and tools. With pooled resources, efforts are being made to reach the goal of development of new drugs, herbal preparations, pest management agents, bio-enhancers, and drug delivery systems. A few examples have been presented in the face of globalisation and WTO.
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Compositions and methods for the improvement of gastrointestinal absorption and systemic utilization of nutrients and nutritional supplements, wherein the compositions comprise a minimum of 98% of pure alkaloid piperine. The method comprises oral, topical, or parenteral administration of the compositions of the invention. A new process for the extraction and purification of piperine is also disclosed.
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Compositions and methods for the improvement of gastrointestinal absorption and systemic utilization of nutrients and nutritional supplements, wherein the compositions comprise a minimum of 98% of pure alkaloid piperine. The method comprises oral, topical, or parenteral administration of the compositions of the invention. A new process for the extraction and purification of piperine is also disclosed.
Objectives: To evaluate whether Trichopus zeylanicus (active fraction) influences (1) phagocytosis by mice peritoneal macrophages (2) antibody dependent complement mediated cytotoxicity to Ehrlichs ascitic carcinoma (EAC) cells and (3) humoral antibody response in mice. Methods: Phagocytosis of opsonized sheep RBC by peritoneal macrophages obtained from control or T.zeylanicus (active fraction) treated (10-40 mg/kg, daily, p.o., 5 days) mice was determined. The in vitro effect of the drug on macrophage phagocytosis was also studied. The effect of the drug on antibody dependent and complement mediated toxicity (ACC) to EAC cells was carried out using antiserum obtained from drug treated (p.o., daily for 5 days) mice which were challenged with or without EAC cells. The effect of the drug on humoral immune response in mice was studied by measuring haemagglutination antibody titre and Jerne's plaque forming assay using sheep RBC as antigens. Results: The drug treatment to mice resulted in stimulation of phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages; but in vitro treatment to macrophages did not influence their phagocytic efficacy. The drug treatment enhanced ACC, haemagglutinating antibody titre and the number of antibody producing spleen cells in mice. Conclusion: The drug stimulates macrophage phagocytosis in mice; but not under in vitro conditions. The drug also enhances ACC mediated cancer cell killing and humoral antibody response in mice.
Objective : To evaluate the antioxidant and hypocholesterolaemic effects of Terminalia arjuna tree bark (a popular cardiotonic substance in Indian pharmacopoeia) and to compare it with a known antioxidant, vitamin E, we performed a randomized controlled trial. Methods : One hundred and five successive patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) presenting to our centre were recruited and using a Latin-square design divided into 3 groups of 35 each. The groups were matched for age, lifestyle and dietary variables, clinical diagnosis and drug treatment status. None of the patients was on lipid-lowering drugs. Supplemental vitamins were stopped for one month before study began and American Heart Association Step II dietary advice was given to all. At baseline, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and LDL cholesterol and lipid peroxide estimated as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were determined. Group I received placebo capsules; Group II vitamin E capsules 400 units/day; and Group III received finely pulverized T. arjuna tree bark-powder (500 mg) in capsules daily. Lipids and lipid peroxide levels were determined at 30 days follow-up. Results : Response rate in various groups varied from 86% to 91%. No significant changes in total, HDL, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels were seen in Groups I and II (paired t-test p > 0.05). In Group III there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol (-9.7 ± 12.7%), and LDL cholesterol (-15.8 ± 25.6%) (paired t-test p < 0.01). Lipid peroxide levels decreased significantly in both the treatment groups (p < 0.01). This decrease was more in vitamin E group (-36.4 ± 17.7%) as compared to the T. arjuna group (-29.3 ± 18.9%). Conclusions : Terminalia arjuna tree bark powder has significant antioxidant action that is comparable to vitamin E. In addition, it also has a significant hypocholesterolaemic effect.