Prakriti

The concept of personalized medicine has been around for as long as people have been practicing medicine. From Charaka to Hippocrates, all have practiced the personalized approach to treating a disease. In the 21st century, personalized medicine is all about DNA. Whereas the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and epigenetic factors influence drug response and form the basis of personalized medicine, the tridosha theory forms the basis of Prakriti-based medicine. It is well established by now that western allopathic medicine is excellent in handling acute medical crises, whereas Ayurveda has successfully demonstrated an ability to manage chronic disorders that Western medicine has been unable to cure. With effective integration of ‘omics’ Prakriti-based medicine can play a vital role in this changing scenario of global health wisdom as Ayurveda offers its modalities by way of ahara (diet), vihara (lifestyle), and aushadhi (medication), which are the three pillars of prakriti-based medicine making it a holistic science. Prakriti-based medicine and other traditional medicine systems have the potential to offer remedies to the challenging health issues like adverse drug reactions, drug withdrawals, and economic disparities among few.“Every individual is different from another and hence should be considered as a different entity. As many variations are there in the universe, all are seen in human beings”.

Charak Samhita

Ayurveda is a natural health care system that originated in India more than 5000 years ago. It emphasizes the treatment of disease in highly individualized manner as it believes that every individual is unique having different constitution. Ayurveda classifies all individuals into different ‘Prakriti’ types based on the theory of tridosha and each type has varying degree of predisposition to different diseases. If personalized medicine is to be realized a systematic classification of human population is necessary but modern medicine classifies human population based on ethnicity.

Geographic patterns of genetic variation shows that inter-individual variation in drug response is common. This gap could be effectively filled by Ayurveda and its vision as ayurvedic classification is independent of racial, ethnic, or geographical considerations and may provide appropriate means of classifying phenotypes to be considered collectively for genotyping. What is required is a connection of phenotypic features (prakriti) with genotype as personalized medicine aims to design drugs with maximum efficiency and safety for a particular disorder.

Ayurvedic system of medicine and other traditional systems of medicine have a personalized approach in treating a patient with centuries of practice, rightly called experiential science. Their intervention and assistance in personalized treatment has now become a necessity.It is well established by now that western allopathic medicine is excellent in handling acute medical crises, whereas Ayurveda has successfully demonstrated an ability to manage chronic disorders that Western medicine has been unable to. Ayurveda and other traditional health practices can form the basis for a new, improved approach to public health, including health promotion, and affordable primary care functions, especially for communicable and chronic diseases.

Ayurveda’s holistic approach and its emphasis on prevention have the potential to improve the health status of the world’s population. Since the sequencing of human genome, scientists are striving for the goal of personalized medicine. Several factors influence a patients’ response to drugs viz. heredity, age, lifestyle and environment. A systematic integration along with an interdisciplinary approach forming the “Golden Triangle of Ayurveda”, modern science and modern Medicine can pave the path to Personalized Medicine and offer remedies to the challenging health issue. Ayurveda not only offers personalized treatment but personalized nutrition and personalized lifestyle by way of both drug and non drug modalities suited to an individual’s prakriti making it a holistic science. These attributes of Ayurveda can play a major role in disease prevention and promotion of health towards longevity with a better quality of life, which forms the basis of personalized medicine.