By Dr. Satish Kulkarni
The United States has no national standard for certifying
or training Ayurvedic practitioners, although a few states
have approved Ayurvedic schools. Some Ayurvedic professional
organizations are collaborating to develop licensing requirements.
Is NCCAM supporting any studies on Ayurveda?
Yes, NCCAM supports studies in this area. For example:
- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School
of Medicine tested the effects of guggul lipid on high
cholesterol. Over the 6-month period of this study, they
did not find that adults with high cholesterol showed any
improvement in cholesterol levels. In fact, the levels of
low-density lipoproteins (the "bad" cholesterol) increased
slightly in some people in the group taking guggul. In
addition, some in the guggul lipid group developed a skin
rash. This team is conducting further studies on herbal
therapies used in Ayurveda for cardiovascular conditions,
including curcuminoids (substances found in the root of
the plant turmeric).
- At the NCCAM-supported Center for Phytomedicine
Research at the University of Arizona, scientists are
investigating three botanicals (ginger, turmeric, and
boswellia) used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat
inflammatory disorders. They are seeking to better
understand these botanicals and determine whether they
might be useful in treating arthritis and asthma.
- A compound from a plant called Mucuna pruriens,
also known as cowhage, is being studied at the Cleveland
Clinic Foundation. The research team is investigating the
compound's potential to prevent or lessen the severe,
often disabling side effects that people with Parkinson's
disease experience from prolonged treatment with