Published on : January 13, 2011

Ayurveda – As It Is Today

Ayurveda – As It Is Today

Ayurveda and Sustainable Healthcare

Ayurveda, originated in India, is a holistic healthcare approach that primarily uses medicinal herbs for preparation of medicines and various other therapeutic applications. The age old system of medicine is sustainable by its very definition as it uses parts of plants for its medicinal properties instead of chemicals as used in modern medicinal system.

Ayurveda is believed to be originated in the Vedic era in Indian subcontinent. At its peak, this system of medicine was spread across South and South East Asia including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia. Also, the treatises on Ayurveda (Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita) were translated to Arabic language. Though, its practice went to a backseat with the increased influence of modern medicinal system especially during the last century, it has seen re-emergence in the recent past. This revival has brought the age old healthcare practice as a strong alternate to modern healthcare system and emerged as a key contributor for India to gain traction as a medical tourism destination.

Current Status

According to recent estimates the market size for Ayurveda healthcare in India is about USD 1.4 billion. This includes exports of herbal raw material and medicines worth more than USD 700 million per year. Further, the Ayurveda healthcare market in India is expected to grow at about 20 percent per year during the next five years. Industry players believe that the herbal healthcare would integrate with mainstream healthcare in the near future.

“…there is a possibility of pharmaceutical players like Ranbaxy and Cadilla enter the herbal healthcare market…”
-    President and CEO, Himalaya Drug Company, a major player in Herbal Healthcare,

Growth Drivers

Further, the key drivers for the growth of Ayurveda healthcare include favorable government policies in India, focusing on development and growth of traditional healthcare, consumer awareness of the potential of Ayurveda healthcare system, and increasing preference for a sustainable herbs-based therapy over chemical-based therapy.

Another reason for revival of age old Ayurveda healthcare is emergence of IT, ITES industry in India. The workforce in such industries is highly susceptible to lifestyle diseases such as back pain, mayopathy, hypertension, depression, insomnia, spondylitis, paralysis etc. Ayurveda healthcare system proves very effective in cure of such diseases permanently in contrast to modern healthcare systems that, in general, provides temporary relief in such diseases.

The revival of Ayurveda is spearheaded in South Indian states especially Kerala, which has become a brand in medical tourism for Ayurveda treatment.

The Kerala Story

The state in South India, Kerala, has a very highly developed eco-system for Ayurveda healthcare practice. Currently, Ayurveda healthcare industry in Kerala alone accounts for about USD 120 million. This is a result of the timely initiatives of the state government and the private sector. Various cities of the state have emerged as hub for Ayurveda hospitals, training centers, and Ayurvedic drug manufacturing plants. Such cities include Kottakal, Calicut, Thrissur, and Koratty. Kottakal is known for its Ayurvedic institute, Arya Vaidya Sala – one of the pioneers in resurgence of Ayurveda healthcare practice.

There are a large number of big and small herbal drug manufacturers in Kerala. Many of the big manufacturers adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines at their plant.

Some of the Ayurveda centers of repute in Kerala include:

  • Arya Vaidya Sala – runs hospital in Kottakkal
  • Ayur Xaqti – runs hospital, training centre, and manufacturing plants in Calicut
  • Vaidyaratnam Oushadasala – makes and markets herbal drugs. Also owns 1500 retails stores.
  • Confederation for Ayurvedic Renaissance Keralam Pvt. Ltd (CARe-Keralam) - a group of 15 Ayurveda firms
  • Kerala Ayurveda – runs hospitals in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida
  • The Kandamkulathy Ayursoukhyam - an Ayurvedic resort at Thrissur

Way Forward

There has been a recent trend of healthcare practitioners from other countries such as Japan and South Korea visit Kerala to attend trainings in Ayurveda healthcare practices. Such practitioners set up their hospitals in their home countries after completion of their training. Also, many entrepreneurial Indians have set-up their Ayurvedic hospitals in various countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, and Sweden etc. The trend is expected to continue in the near future and it is estimated that the global Ayurveda healthcare industry would be about USD 5,000 billion in 2050.

About the Author:

T. Agarwal is the Sales Director of iQuest Solution. iQuest Solution is a fast growing research and analytics firm based in India. The company provides custom research based knowledge services including business research, market research, and investment research. Tel - +91 – 124 – 425 3488/ +91 – 124 – 429 4239 Email – tagarwal@iquestsolution.com Website – www.iquestsolution.com