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“Medicine is in herbs and trees: this is what Hungarian folk wisdom holds, similarly to its Indian counterpart. For millennia, humankind has been searching for plants of medicinal value in its own environment, and Ayurvedic medicine is also based on this effort,” emphasised László Csernoch in his opening speech at the symposium on Monday.
The vice rector for scientific affairs said that the university signed the letter of intent with the Indian government on Sunday, which sets the aim of further expanding and developing the already existing education and research cooperation related to Ayurvedic medicine.
As Rajesh Kotecha, state secretary and head of the Ministry of AYUSH in India recalled, in the 1990s, the Hungarian government was among the first in the world that recognised Ayurveda as a traditional system of medicine, and the University of Debrecen has been interested in the new method from the very beginning.
“After the Ayurveda Department, the aim is to set up an independent institute which will be the venue, in addition to organised education, also for research and therapy,” state secretary Rajesh Kotecha announced.
Rahul Chhabra, ambassador of India to Hungary underlined that, in addition to institutional cooperation, the economic and cultural links between the two countries are also increasingly strong.
“There is a 27 percent increase in trade between the two countries from last year, while the number of Indian students studying in Hungary grew threefold in the past three years. The latter increase is due, in a large degree to the Stipendium Hungaricum programme,” emphasised Rahul Chhabra.
K.S. Dhiman, Director General of the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous body of the Ministry of AYUSH, said that the joint research projects with the University of Debrecen are primarily on effective traditional Indian therapies of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. K.S. Dhiman added that, in contrast with the method of Western medicine proceeding from laboratories to clinics, the focus here is on the laboratory-based examination of the therapies that have already proven their efficacy in practice.
Special emphasis was devoted at the symposium to non-contagious, chronic diseases and psychological problems for which natural medicines, functional foods and healthy lifestyle could serve as suitable therapies. The aim of the participants was to explore the areas in which Western medicine and Ayurveda can achieve results jointly, as well as to demonstrate how the therapies used in traditional Indian medicine can be transferred in to the clinical practice.
Ayurveda courses at the University of Debrecen have been available as optional components for students of pharmacy, medicine and dentistry since February. From September, those at the Faculty of Health and the Faculty of Public Health can also register for the two-semester course, providing an introduction to Ayurveda medicine.