More than 250 stalls, including ones of yagna performance and upasana tree, at Arogya Expo 2012

Despite allopathic pharma companies aggressively marketing their wares, there are many who bank on alternative Indian systems of medicine for succour.

This was evident at the inauguration of Arogya Expo 2012, where people poured in to check out herbal and naturopathy remedies that claimed to cure just about everything ranging from dandruff and skin ailments to even cancer and AIDS.

Slated to be the largest fair for complementary and alternative healthcare, the Arogya Expo 2012, being held alongside the International Conference on Yoga and Naturopathy, took off in the city on Thursday.

AYUSH-based products

Inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare S. Gandhiselvan, the expo has an array of exhibits by AYUSH pharma segment and practitioners and hospitals of all AYUSH systems.

More than 250 stalls have been put up by AYUSH-based service institutes and centres, research institutes and departments, laboratory equipment and machinery manufacturers, makers of hospital and surgical equipment, insurance companies, health tourism industry, herbal traders and medicinal plant cultivators.

Models attract many

To propagate the Indian systems of alternative medicine, especially naturopathy and yoga, the State AYUSH Department has put up a stall with mud-packed models of yoga demonstrations. A model of a ‘yagna performance' by yogic gurus was the centre of attraction.

An ‘upasana tree' put by the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Yoga and Nature Cure Hospital exhibited that the root cause of various diseases are violations of nature's rules by people.

Face packs to shampoos, creams for cracked heels, pain-relieving oils, brahmi and fruit-based energising malts, herbal soaps, churnas and kashaya tablets were displayed. Herbal dietary supplements and even herbal non-nicotine-based smoking cessation aids and medicinal plants — you name it, they had it.

The Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha had put up special pavilions on vector-borne diseases, anaemia control, reproductive and child health systems, coronary heart disease, digestive disorders, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer's.

Among the stalls, those put up by companies such as Himalayas, Shatayu, Baidyanath, Charak and Sri Sri Ravishankar's ashram were crowd-pullers.

Speaking after inaugurating the expo, Mr. Gandhiselvan said the Centre would promote AYUSH systems of medicine through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

‘Special impetus'

“With yoga and naturopathy becoming popular as effective disease-management strategies, the Government has decided to give special impetus to these systems. The Government is evolving a broad policy to promote colleges in Indian systems of medicine and AYUSH. There are 488 such colleges now,” he said.

Medical Education Minister S.A. Ramdas regretted that AYUSH medicine had still not reached the masses in the same way as modern medicines.

“India has become a dumping ground for products of foreign pharmaceutical companies. We should try to check this by promoting AYUSH systems of medicine,” he said.

Pointing out that the Government would soon start diploma and certificate courses in yoga and naturopathy, the Minister urged the Centre to recognise these courses.

State AYUSH director G.N. Sreekantaiah and D.H. Shankaramurthy, Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council also spoke. The expo is on at Gayatri Vihar on Palace Grounds till February 13.

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