Ayurvedic Biology Program


Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. Bydefinition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India’straditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period andcontinues to serve 70% of India’s rural population. Research in Ayurveda has beendominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, whichhas a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employsmodern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest theabsence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead toAyurveda being regarded as a form of “herbal therapy” as was done by the WaltonCommittee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gutand substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the richcollection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator. The programmeon Ayurvedic Biology was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal ScientificAdvisor to the Government of India, Dr. P. Chidambararm. The programme, now reconceived, is being implemented by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Againstthis background, the SERB constituted a Task Forceunder the Chairmanship of Dr MS Valiathan, National Research Professor, ManipalUniversity to promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedicconcepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biology.

Specific Objectives:

  • Development of a basic understanding of the concepts, procedures and products of Ayurveda in terms of modern sciences such as Molecular biology, Immunology and Chemistry.
  • To PromoteHuman resource development in Ayurveda Biology and related areas by offering fellowships, training opportunities, providing support to scientific meetings and workshops.
  • To Promote collaborative research with national institutions who are active in pursuing research activities on traditional medicine and may have shared interest in Ayurvedic biology.

Thrust Areas of Research:

  • Rasāyana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
  • Prakriti and human genomics.
  • Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
  • Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma.

Operation of the Program:

The programme of Ayurvedic Biology will be steered by a Task Force to promote high quality research which would lead to major contributions to scientific knowledge and which could have implications for improving the standards of health care. The investigative work in this programme will necessarily involve the full participation of scientists and Ayurvedic experts who would be part of established institutions of science, medicine, and Ayurveda in India. Individual or groups of scientists, physicians and Ayurvedic experts are encouraged to submit project proposals on any interesting aspect of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures, or products, which would lend themselves to investigation by employing modern scientific protocols. All project proposals should conform to the standard SERB format for Ayurvedic Biology and would be considered on the basis of peer review.

Task Force:

The Task Force will be responsible for:

  • Setting priorities, identifying research areas and developing proposals through meetings, brainstorming session etc.,
  • Ensuring smooth implementation of the projects, monitoring of progress and mid-term correction and final evaluation of the achievements.
  • Suggesting any other means and modalities to fullfill the objectives of the Ayurvedic Biology programme.
  • Ensuring the proposals' duration, cost, items of expenditure etc. are specific to the requirements of the proposed research work; and
  • Preparing detailed action plan for advancing the development of Ayurvedic Biology.

Specific Guidelines for Submission of Project Proposals:

  • Proposals could be submitted any time, but would be considered by the Task Force only twice a year.
  • Project proposals should be written with the same rigor as for any research proposal in any branch of modern science but the cues for the proposed study should emanate fromthe concept, procedures or products of Ayurveda. Modern biology, immunology, and chemistry provide most of the tools for research in Ayurvedic Biology.
  • As a matter of policy, Task Force will not consider project proposals relating to the development, standardization etc., of herbal drugs or reverse pharmacology; ethnopharmacology; or clinical trials of herbal products or Ayurvedic procedures for safety and efficacy.
  • All projects should be the joint effort of scientists and Ayurvedic experts whose respective institutions should be involved in carrying out the study.
Formats and Guidelines

Name of the Programme Programme Advisor / Coordinator Programme Officer
Ayurvedic Biology Dr. Rita Banerjee
Scientist G
Dr. Balachandar Venkatesan
Scientist E


Last Updated on 14 July, 2016