A major breakthrough discovery has revealed that ‘dosha prakriti’ or phenotypic classification of traditional Indian medicine indeed has a genetic basis. Scientists at Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad were finally able to link India’s ancient wisdom with modern sciences.
Ayurveda dates back to the ancient period, where it was practised as the main type of medical system in India. It has first originated in the 1,500 BC and had been in practice for thousand of years. Ayurvedic physicians believe that there are three doshas – Vata (related to space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). Each individual would have different levels of these doshas, hence the diversities.
“Whether such phenotypic classification has any molecular basis has been a matter of debate. A few groups had found some correlation when they looked at one or two specific genes. However, the association with Prakriti classification was lacking,” said Ch Mohan Rao, director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
A team of researchers recruited 3,416 healthy males in the age group of 20-40 years. They were screened by a software called AyuSoft, developed by C-DAC. Their blood samples were collected, isolation of DNA and genomic studies were carried out.
“In all, 262 individuals were selected for analysis using one million genetic markers,” said Dr K. Thangaraj, lead scientist of the study. The findings were published as a paper titled ‘Genome-wide analysis correlates Ayurveda Prakriti’ in the Journal Nature.
“Interestingly, although we had individuals from different ancestries and communities, they all got classified into these three classifications. This was a sign that there was real science behind this Ayurvedic classification. This discovery will be beneficial to both Ayurveda and Allopathy practitioners. This work will eventually lead to establishing Ayurveda on a sound footing along with modern medicine,” explained Rao.