Deutsche Ärztegesellschaft für Ayurveda-Medizin e.V.

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Dravyaguna, Polyherbal Formulations Drug-Herb Interactions
In-Depth Seminar for Ayurvedic Practitioners
Webinar, 2nd December 2023

APA (Ayurvedic Professionals Association) Presents the Seminar on Dravyaguṇa, Polyherbal formulations, and drug-herb interactions by Vd. P. Rammanohar, Director at the Amrita Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kollam, Kerala, India.

Dr Ramkumar explains: 'A couple in their forties arrived at the emergency room of a hospital with a life-threatening heart problem. It took a while for the doctors to understand that the salad they ate during their last meal was the cause of their malady. A neighbour had given them foxglove plants to grow, mistaking it for kale. 

Foxglove is the source of the powerful cardiac glycoside digoxin, which can be life-saving when administered in the correct doses. In the couple's case, a large serving of foxglove leaves was enough to deliver toxic doses of digoxin and shut off the electrical conduction system of their hearts. The salad nearly killed them. Herbs around us are powerful, a storehouse of myriad chemicals and ingredients that can nourish us as food, heal us as medicine or kill us as poison. 

Ayurveda points out that there is nothing under the sun that does not have potential medicinal value when used appropriately. Poison can become medicine when properly used, but even nectar can become toxic when used improperly—the Ayurvedic discipline of Dravyaguṇa (~Ayurvedic Pharmacology) lays down the principles of combining herbs and administering them in appropriate doses for optimal results. 

No herb or substance is completely safe or devoid of medicinal properties. Safety depends on proper use, which involves considering four factors - a). Assessment of the natural properties of the substance for risk-benefit profiling, b). Combining with other herbs to enhance benefits and minimize undesirable effects, c). Choosing the appropriate method of processing the formulation for optimized drug delivery and bio-availability, and d). Considering how the formulation will interact with the individual, given the time and place s/he is placed in, diet, lifestyle, and other medications being co-administered. This thought process is called Yukti, or rational use of medications in Ayurveda. Ayurveda points out that Yukti-based treatment ensures safety and efficacy. Even the safest medicine can prove dangerous when administered improperly.

Today, single herbs, mostly powdered, are used widely without combining with other herbs or appropriate processing. Herbs like Aśvagandhā and herbal formulations like Triphalā are globally used without considering the patient's constitution and other individual factors. On top of it all, modern medications are also co-administered along with these herbal supplements. We now know that many herbs interfere with the bioavailability and metabolism of chemical medicines. For example, garlic can attenuate the anticoagulant effect of warfarin and cause uncontrolled bleeding. It is not surprising that undesirable side effects are encountered, which are sometimes serious and life-threatening. On the other hand, some interactions may be beneficial, but these need to be studied properly.

In this talk, we will examine the current global trends of herbal medicine use in light of the principles of Dravyaguṇa from the Ayurvedic perspective'.

About the speaker
Dr. P. Rammanohar is the Research Director of the Amrita School of Ayurveda. He received a BAMS degree from Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore, in 1991 and an MD (Ay) degree from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, in 2001. He has been contributing to the field of Ayurvedic research for the last 30 years. His publications include research papers in indexed journals and chapters in books.

Important Information

Please note that all the webinar participants will receive a link to the Zoom webinar via email on the 2nd of December. To access the webinar, click on the Zoom link sent to your email from info@apa.uk.com. Please note that you do NOT need to enter the event via the Eventbrite page.
Please add the APA email address to your email contact list: info@apa.uk.com. Also, please check your Spam folder if you cannot see the email in your Inbox.

Register: www.eventbrite.co.uk/