Chennai: With the Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) gearing up for research on using herbal medicine for animals, experts and researchers say that the cost of medicine will come down.
Welcoming the development, former head of department (veterinary microbiology) of Madras Veterinary College, Dr V Ramaswamy, says, “It is a good sign that the Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has taken a step forward to conduct research in Siddha medicines. Traditional medicine is quite cheap, compared to allopathic medicine.”
Elaborating, he notes that while the cost of feeding and maintenance of animals are quite moderate for any Indian citizen, most allopathic medicines are priced high.
He explains that “A single dose of any allopathic medicine for animals costs a minimum of Rs 60. But herbs like tulsi and parsley are available in plenty. These can be administered to animals when they are attacked by diseases. Even if proper formulations are prepared, the cost of the traditional medicine would be very low.”
Highlighting the side-effects of allopathic medicine, Ramaswamy argues that “Most allopathic medicines have side-effects when used frequently. But traditional medicine has no such side-effects. More importantly, most of the allopathic medicine administered to animals get deposited in their liver, intestine and kidney in the form of toxins. If we consume such chicken, goats and other animals there is a great possibility that we might be affected. So, we must develop herbal medicine for animals for the safety of human beings.”
Former director of Centre for Animal Studies at TANUVAS, Dr V Purushothaman says, “When a cow is affected by Madpipis disease, every day treatment costs about Rs 200. If the treatment continues for 10 days, it runs up to Rs 2,000 for a cow bought for a few thousands. This would be tough for a normal farmer or cattle owner to afford. So, many experts in veterinary research say taht there is a great need to develop traditional medicine just for the sake of cutting costs.”
Researchers stress the importance of traditional medicine. The veterinary industry and animal husbandry department have forgotten herbal medicine which had been in use for many hundred years. According to National Institute of Siddha lecturer, Dr P Arulmozhi, “‘Even today, in various parts of India, we find traditional herbal medicine is used to a small extent. But the veterinary medicine industry is dominated by allopathic drugs.”
Explaining how allopathic medicine overthrew traditional medicine, Arulmozhi says, “Allopathic medicine and drugs entered India as emergency medicine with the help of the British government. Since it provided quick relief to animals suffering an ailment, farmers and animal owners didn’t oppose the system. But, they gradually dominated the entire country in less than 70 years. We must note that there are more than 1,000 Siddha medicines for human beings and around 400 medicine for animals.”
For example, says the expert, ‘Maattu Vaghanam’, a traditional book on Siddha medicine for animals, contains over 200 medicines. “Such is our traditional knowledge on herbal medicine. If more and more research is done, then this could change the entire veterinary medicine industry in the years to come,” says the Siddha lecturer.
TANUVAS signed an MoU with the Central Council for Research in Siddha, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, recently with the objective of coming out with documentation on use of plants in animal disease control and conducting workshops on Siddha medicines for animals.