The following is a research paper authored by Dr. Boris Vladimirovich Ragozin, Department of Ayurveda, Institute of Oriental Medicine, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia - and has been reproduced with his permission. Link to Dr. Ragozin: http://ayurvedaru.ru/catalog2.aspx?rid=52&mid=1
Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest medical sciences, with
a history that goes back more than 5,000 years. The knowledge of Ayurveda has
at various times had an impact on a number of branches of medicine: From
ancient Greek medicine in the West to the Chinese and Tibetan in the East.
Ayurveda continues to retain its prominent position in the modern world, being
officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and enjoying great
popularity in the US, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In India, Ayurveda is
recognised by conventional medicine on a par with modern medical science. In
the Soviet Union a strong interest in Ayurveda arose for the first time after
the Chernobyl disaster, and since then Ayurveda has been actively developing in
Russia. In this article we present the chronology of the development of
Ayurvedic medicine in Russia since 1989, explore academic literature on the
subject available in Russian and review the existing Ayurvedic products and
services offered on the Russian market.
In 1989, after the Chernobyl nuclear plant
accident, Soviet doctors began to express strong interest in Ayurveda for the
first time. The negotiations between the governments of India and the USSR
resulted in the opening of an Ayurvedic medical center in Minsk. Ayurvedic
practitioners invited from India had been tasked with treating children
affected by the explosion at the nuclear power plant, as well as with
developing ways of treating radiation sickness.
In 1990 a special department of the Ministry of
Healthcare of the former USSR was created in order to integrate traditional
Ayurvedic medicine into the Russian healthcare system. In the same year,
Ayurvedic medicine course was introduced in Moscow with the support of the
Ministry of Healthcare of the USSR. Some 300 doctors were trained and 300
academic certificates were issued.
In 1991 the first Russian professional medical
association of practitioners of traditional and folk medicine (Russian
Association of Traditional Medicine) was registered with the aim of training
and registering practitioners of traditional and Oriental medicine.
From 1996 to 1998 Ayurveda was included in the
state “register of medical practices” and was subject to licensing.
Unfortunately, after 2003 these licenses were not renewed. For unknown reasons,
the ministerial department for integration was disbanded and in 1998, despite a
very positive experience of its practice in Russia, Ayurveda was excluded from
the list of medical activities.
From 1996 to 2005 the first Ayurvedic medical
center called “NAAMI” headed by Dr. S. A. Mayskaya was active in Moscow.
Several Ayurvedic practitioners from India, including Noushad Ali Tachaparamban
(Doctor of Medicine), Mohammedali P. K. (Doctor of Medicine) and Unnikrishnan
Thacharakkal, practised there. During this period, the center provided medical
assistance to over 2000 people.
Between 1996 and 1998 those affected by the
Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster were treated in Moscow by a joint team of
Russian doctors and Ayurvedic practitioners from India led by Noushad Ali
Tachaparamban. Ayurvedic methods of treatment were applied to 85 patients. The
most common complaints presented by patients were headaches, sleep disorders,
pain in the joints and spine, irritability and fatigue, all characteristic of
radiation damage. Many patients also manifested symptoms of gastritis,
enterocolitis, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, significant immune
deficiency and signs of osteoporosis. Over the course of 2 – 3 months these
patients received comprehensive Ayurvedic therapy. As a result, the majority of
patients showed an improvement in their subjective well-being, complete relief
from headaches and joint pain, a halt of the degenerative processes and better
tissue regeneration, while all patients have demonstrated a significant
increase of immunity and reduction in the number of respiratory infections.
In 1996 – 1998 the Institute of Medical and
Social Rehabilitation held 9–month–long courses as part of the programme called
“The fundamental principles of Ayurveda” as well as a year-long course called
“The introductory course to Ayurveda”. The courses were taught by Noushad Ali
Tachaparamban together with Professor of Ayurvedic medicine Agnivesh K.R. Over
a period of two years, more than 50 Russian doctors have completed the course.
Between 1996 and 998 Ayurvedic doctors under the
supervision of doctors of allopathic medicine have treated 105 children aged
between 3 and 16 years old at the Moscow Research Institute of Paediatrics and
Paediatric Surgery of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation. The
positive results of this treatment have been documented. The research included
children with bronchial asthma, gastrointestinal disorders,
cerebral palsy, vegetative-vascular dystonia and scoliosis. Throughout the
treatment the children's medical condition was monitored on a daily basis using
a wide range of clinical, laboratory and instrumental electrophysiological
methods (EEG, REG, ECG, ultrasound, x-ray etc.). After the inpatient treatment,
the observation continued on an outpatient basis. After their treatment using
Ayurvedic methods that included herbal remedies, massage and yoga, 95% of the
children have demonstrated high and fairly stable (up to 2 years) clinical
results in connection with their primary disease and related complaints such as
headaches, vestibulopathy, sleep disorders, fatigue as well as psychoemotional
irritability etc. Children with cerebral palsy have demonstrated improved
coordination, increased muscle strength, enhanced gait stability as well as
better hemodynamics and an improved performance of the bioelectrical activity
of the brain. The Ayurvedic Rasāyana method
has also proved its positive effect on 32 children diagnosed with oligophrenia.
The children have demonstrated improvements in their behaviour and mental state
as well as their immune and physical development.
During the Ayurvedic treatment, in addition to
complete relief from complaints and regression of the main clinical symptoms,
there was also a noted positive dynamics of somatic manifestations and
neurological disorders, and an improvement in cerebral hemodynamics, which
proves a direct and positive effect of the treatment during all stages of the
pathogenesis of these diseases. Not a single child has manifested any
complications, side effects, toxic or allergic reactions to the Ayurvedic
medications used. The experience of applying Ayurvedic methods in paediatrics
has demonstrated the possibility of their use and their effectiveness in
treating a number of diseases.
Moreover, a whole range of methods used in
Ayurvedic medicine was developed and adapted for paediatric practice by A. V.
Kapustin et al.
The Head physician of the Moscow Research
Institute of Paediatrics and Paediatric Surgery of the Ministry of Healthcare
of the Russian Federation, the Honoured Doctor of the Russian Federation
Osokina G. G. has concluded that it would be useful to continue studying
long-term results of Ayurvedic treatment methods and exploring the
possibilities of application of these methods in treating other significant
diseases in children.
Between 1999 and 2010 a magazine called “Ayurveda
– the science of life” was published in St. Petersburg. Its editor-in-chief,
Vetrov I. I., has greatly contributed
to the development of Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine in Russia. He also headed
the “Dhanvantari” medical center in St. Petersburg, conducted extensive
research in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and has written a number of books
on the subject.
From 2002 to 2009 Vetrov I. I. headed the
Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine at the Mechnikov State Medical Academy (now the
North-Western State Medical University named after I. I. Mechnikov). Dozens of
doctors have received training in Ayurveda from Indian and Russian
In 2003 the “Vsya Ayurveda” (“All about
Ayurveda”) educational project, which is still actively running today, was
launched. The aim of the project was the development and popularisation of
Ayurveda in Russia. As part of the project, the first online Ayurvedic store in
Russia was created (ayurvedamarket.ru), which is the largest specialised store
on the Russian internet. In 2011 – 2012 a club, a video channel and a community
have been established. The authors of the “Vsya Ayurveda” project took
part in the 2013 Ayurvedic conference and have been organising a yearly
Ayurvedic conference since October 2014, gathering all Indian and Russian
Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners working in Russia with the aim of
popularising Ayurveda in the country.
From 2003 to 2015 an educational course taught by
Prof. Subotyalov M. A. was offered by the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical
University. During this period, the course was taken by some 750 people,
including 150 practitioners of modern medicine. Since 2015 the program is being
continued within the framework of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association
(NAMA). The association is engaged in training specialists and conducting
research in the field of Ayurvedic medicine.
In 2005 the Ayurveda Russia–India Association
(ARIA) was created and is still active today. In 2005 more than 40 doctors were
taught by the Association with the assistance of the Russian Medical Academy of
Postgraduate Education (RMAPO) of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian
Federation as part of the course called “The fundamental principles of
Ayurveda”. The course was taught by professors of Ayurveda from India, such as
Dr. Agnivesh K. R., Dr. Dilipkumar K. V. T. and Dr. Kuldip Kohli.
In 2006, the Ministry of Healthcare of the
Russian Federation approved a standard programme of further professional
education for doctors on the fundamental principles of traditional Ayurvedic
medicine (144 hours). The programme was developed by the staff of the
Department of non-pharmacological methods of treatment and clinical physiology
of the I. M. SechenovFirst Moscow State Medical University and the staff of the
Faculty of Organisation of national and international public health of the
Department of physical rehabilitation and sports medicine of RMAPO, and was
drawn up in accordance with the orders of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary
Education of the Russian Federation. The programme is aimed at doctors of
medical institutions using methods and techniques of traditional medicine.
In 2006 two Ayurvedic clinics that are still
active today were opened in Moscow: “Atreya”, founded by Noushad Ali
Tachaparamban, Doctor of Ayurveda and Doctor of Medicine, and “Kerala”,
founded by Dr. Unnikrishnan Thacharakkal. Since 2014 the “Kerala”
clinic has been headed by Mohammedali P. K. (Doctor of Medicine). At present,
over 30 Ayurvedic practitioners work at each clinic (doctors and massage
therapists). Since they first opened, the clinics have provided medical assistance
to thousands of patients.
In 2007 Ragozin B. V. became the first Russian
citizen to have been awarded with a BAMS, Bachelor of Ayurvedic medicine and
surgery degree at Gujarat Ayurved University (Jamnagar, India). He has also
completed the BNYT (Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yoga Therapy) yoga therapy
course and was awarded with a Doctor of Medicine in Alternative Medicines M.D.
(A.M.) degree of the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines in Calcutta, India.
From 2009 to 2012 Ragozin B. V. has taught a course
called “Ayurvedic medicine” at the Department of further professional education
at the Faculty of Medicine of the People's Friendship University of Russia
(PFUR) comprising 144 and 504 hours. The course has been completed by over 150
From 2012 to 2014 Ragozin B. V. has taught a
course titled “Developing healthy lifestyle and eating habits (Ayurvedic
medicine)” consisting of 144 hours and a course of Ayurvedic massage consisting
of 72 hours at the Faculty of medicine of PFUR. Over 150 people have received
their degree certificates.
Since January 2013 Ragozin B. V. has been heading
the Department of Ayurvedic Medicine at the Institute of Oriental Medicine
(IOM) founded as part of PFUR. IOM PFUR is a branch of the People's Friendship
University of Russia. In the university, apart from the Department of Ayurveda,
there are also the Departments of Chinese and Tibetan medicine, phytotherapy
and rehabilitation of children and teenagers.
By the time IOM was founded, the Department of
Phytotherapy at PFUR was in existence for 12 years. The opening of IOM has
spurred a more active co-operation between Russia and India in the field of
studying various herbs and their properties. Faculty members work together with
a range of Indian pharmaceutical companies, such as “Himalaya Drug Co”, “Indian
spices”, “Lupin Limited” etc. During this period, clinical trials of such
products as Softovac, Brahmi, One be etc.
have been conducted.
In 2013, ARIA held a 15-day seminar on “The
fundamental principles of Ayurveda”. It was attended by Professors of Ayurveda
from India K. V. Jayadevan and M. V. Vinodkumar. Also, 12 physicians received
an Indian certificate of having completed the course called “The use of
Ayurveda in psychology. The concept of the mind – the psychosomatic aspect”
taught by Professors of Ayurveda M. P. Esvara Sharma, K. V. T. Dilipkumar and
In April 2013 Moscow hosted the first All–Russian
Congress of Ayurveda with the support of the Healthcare Committee of the State
Duma of the Russian Federation, the Embassy of India in Russia, the Department
of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (AYUSH), the Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare of India and the Department of Ayurveda of the government of
the state of Maharashtra. Dr. Agnivesh K. R., Dr. Varier P. M., Dr. Jina N. J.,
Dr. Dilipkumar K. V. T., Dr. Manojkumar A. K., Dr. M. P. Eswara Sharma, Dr. S.
Gopakumar, Dr. Mohammed, Dr. Salprakasan, Dr. Srivats N. V., Dr. Ragozin B. V.,
Prof. Subotyalov M. A. etc. took part in the congress.
In April 2015 the second All-Russian Congress of
Ayurveda took place. It was supported by the Healthcare Committee of the State
Duma of the Russian Federation, the Embassy of India in Russia and the Ministry
of AYUSH as well as the Department of Ayurveda of the government of the state
of Maharashtra. The Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation P. S.
Raghavan addressed the participants at the opening ceremony. He emphasised the
importance of the role played by the organisers of the congress – IOM PFUR and
ARIA – in the development of Ayurveda in Russia and also spoke about the plans
of the government of India to further develop Ayurveda in Russia. In
particular, he announced the creation of the AYUSH Information Department at
the Consulate of India in Moscow. During the congress, Indian specialists
announced plans for its future activities that include: Lectures on Ayurveda, a
scholarship programme for Russian students and doctors, plans to establish
departments of Ayurveda in various higher education institutions, joint
research projects etc.
Ayurveda practitioners from IOM PFUR and ARIA
also took part in the XXII Russian National Congress titled “Man and medicine”
held in Moscow in 2015 on par with representatives of conventional medicine and
of the Russian pharmaceutical market.
In 2014, a Council on traditional/complementary
medicine was established as part of the State Duma Committee on Healthcare,
uniting experts in Chinese, Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine. The Council is in
the process of preparing an amendment to the Federal Law No. 323-FZ regarding
articles on traditional complementary medicine, introduction of new
professional qualifications, including Ayurvedic, and the regulation of drug
registration in these areas.
July 1, 2015 saw the introduction of a new
National Classification of Occupations (NOC): OK 010 – 2014 (ISCO-08), which
formally regulates activities in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and officially
recognises such terms as “Ayurvedic medicine”, “doctor of Ayurvedic medicine”,
“specialist in Ayurvedic medicine” and so forth.
AYURVEDIC LITERATURE AVAILABLE IN RUSSIAN
An important contribution to the translation of
Ayurveda–related texts into Russian and the formation of basic Ayurvedic
terminology was made by the “Sattva” publishing house that has published a
number of translated works by prominent Western and Indian authors. Among them
are such books as “Ayurvedic Healing” and “Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing
of Consciousness” by David Frawley, “Ayurvedic cooking for self-healing”,
“Secrets of the Pulse: The Ancient Art of Ayurvedic Pulse Diagnosis”, “The
Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies” and “The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic
Guide to Herbal Medicine” by Vasant Lad as well as “Hidden Secret of Ayurveda”,
“Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution”, “Ayurveda: Life, Health, and
Longevity” by Robert Svoboda and many others.
With a shortage of translated texts and lack of
work with Ayurvedic information sources, the Russian-language basic terminology
in Ayurvedic medicine began to be formed. Prof. M. A. Subotyalov has published
a large number of studies for the Russian-speaking audience on the history of
Ayurveda, its sources, characteristics, methods and basic concepts. Numerous
articles and monographs have also been published. A monograph titled “Ayurveda:
Sources and characteristics” (Subotyalov M. A., Druzhinin V. Y.) became the first major
textbook on the history and methodology of Ayurveda for Russian-speaking
There is also a terminology research by the
associate professor at Moscow State University Bogatyryova I. I. exploring the
vocabulary in ancient Indian medical treatises.
Overall, despite a large number of popular
articles and literature, high-quality translations of fundamental medical
treatises of Ayurveda from Sanskrit into Russian are few and far between. It is
an area of study that could greatly benefit from more research efforts.
AYURVEDIC PRODUCTS AVAILABLE IN RUSSIA
The Russian system of registration of medicines
doesn’t single out products used in traditional or Ayurvedic medicine. That is
the reason that a large number of Ayurvedic medicines which are already well
established on the Russian market is not taken into account. The Russian
healthcare system has long been using such Ayurvedic medicines as Liv–52, Cistone and Speman by
Himalaya; Linkus, Verona, Bonjigarand Insti by
Herbion; One be and Softovac by Lupin
Limited; Travisil cough syrup, lozenges and ointment by
Plethico Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Dr. Mom cough syrup, ointment and
lozenges, and a number of other medicines and dietary supplements. The
effectiveness and relevance of Ayurvedic methods is indirectly proven by the
steady increase in sales of these products, on average by 25% every year.
A number of biologically active dietary
supplements have been developed using the recipes of Ayurvedic medicine, such
as Cyavanaprāśa, Triphalā Guggulu, Yogarāja Guggulu etc. Various oils have been
created based on Ayurvedic recipes and are now being used by those seeking to
maintain good health as well as for hygienic and cosmetic purposes.
Between 1998 and the early 2000s a company
called Ayurveda plus was present on the Russian market. It
registered a number of Ayurvedic products in Russia, including Revmatogel, Triphalā
Guggulu, Arjuna, Yogaraja Guggulu etc. Ayurveda plus
imported products by such major manufacturers as Dabur India Limited, Shahnaz
Herbals and Bioveda Research Laboratories.
In 2000 – 2002 Ayurveda Plus conducted
more than 30 clinical trials confirming the efficiency and safety of the use of
Ayurvedic medicines in various areas (surgery, psychiatry, gynaecology,
gerontology etc). In the early 2000s the company together with St. Petersburg
State Chemical Pharmaceutical Academy provided training for doctors and practitioners
of Ayurveda in order to improve their skills. It also held four international
conferences on Ayurvedic medicine. In cooperation with the Academy of Medical
and Social Management it has also organised the first international conference
called “Eastern and Western medicine – real help”.
Since March 2010 a company called TRADO has
been presenting herbal medicinal products and food supplements for various body
systems based on Ayurvedic principles manufactured by Bliss Ayurveda to
the Russian market.
Since 2013 ProSvet, the company
headed by Ragozin B. V. has been active in the field of Ayurveda and has
registered a whole range of classic Ayurvedic products. Medicines and
supplements made in India are being registered in Russia under Russian names,
mostly as biologically active dietary supplements. Among the classic products
produced by the company offered in the form of tablets are Nidrodaya
rasa (Water-surface), Hingvādi vaṇi (Breath of the
Universe), Balya yoga (Living warmth), Chandraprabhā
vaṭi(Moonlight), Hṛdayanava rasa (Ray of light), Virecana
yoga (Enlightenment), Amṛtāriṣta (Five
elements), Brāhmī vaṭi (Equilibrium), Ārogyavardhinī
vaṭi (Rainbow), Śvāsahara yoga (Sunrise), Madhumeha
hara vaṭi (Power of light), Kañcanāra guggulu (Harmony), Agni
vardhaka vaṭi (Sunlight) etc.
Some supplements are produced for ProSvet in
the form of kvāthas or herbal decoctions. The following
formulas are available in Russia: Madhumehahara (Bio-balance), Brāhmī
rasāyana (Harmony), Vāsāriṣṭa(Winter tea), Medohara
guggulu (Slimness), Medohara yoga (Slimness
plus), Triphalā kvātha (Triphala tea), Mahāmañjiṣṭhādi
kvātha (Tsar tea) etc.
A wide range of Ayurvedic oils has been
registered by “ProSvet”, including Āmla, Anu, Aśvagandhā, Balā
Aśvagandhā, Brāhmī, Vaka, Daśamūla,
Mahānārāyaṇa, Koṭṭaṃcukkādi, Piṇḍa, Slimness,
Years of use of Ayurvedic products in Russia have
demonstrated that Ayurvedic herbal medicines are well tolerated by patients,
are efficient, have no side effects except in cases of individual intolerance.
However, it is also clear that Russia still lacks Ayurvedic remedies and a
large amount of work is required in the field of their registration and
description as well as in the area of research and teaching.
POPULARITY OF AYURVEDA AMONG RUSSIAN DOCTORS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
There are about a thousand Spa-centers in Russia
and roughly half of them offer services based on Ayurvedic techniques
(different types of Ayurvedic massage, herbal steam baths etc.). Russian
doctors are also eager to use some of the Ayurvedic preventive, therapeutic and
rehabilitation methods and medicines in their medical practice, and to refer
their patients to registered Ayurvedic centers in order to achieve better
results. Russian patients, adults and children alike, have a positive attitude
towards and a good response to Ayurvedic methods and techniques that have
proven to be successful both as complementary and as alternative treatment.
The Russians are increasingly turning to
Ayurvedic practitioners and their methods for treatment of chronic diseases and
rehabilitation after serious illnesses, although less so for prevention and
health maintenance. There has been a large increase in the public interest in
Ayurvedic treatments. While the number of those who turned to Ayurvedic methods
and techniques in 1995 was some 2,000 people, today this number has reached
several thousand, with an approximate annual growth of about 100%.
Every year, up to 10,000 Russian citizens travel
to India for treatment and improving their general health – and that is to the
state of Kerala alone.
Numerous medical centers using Ayurvedic methods
of diagnosis and treatment keep opening in Russia. Courses are being taught on
some branches of Ayurvedic medicine and disease prevention methods. Texts on
various aspects of Ayurvedic medicine are regularly published. Academic and
research issues regarding the theory and practice of Ayurvedic medicine are
widely discussed at all Russian and international congresses and conferences
(St. Petersburg, 2004; Krasnoyarsk, 2009; Novosibirsk, 2011 – 2013; Moscow,
2013, 2015; Volgograd, 2013 etc).
(Dr. Boris Ragozin is a practicing Ayurvedic
doctor and the Head of the Department of Ayurveda, Institute of Oriental
Medicine, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia)
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