California Research Team Studies Panchakarma Benefits

A research team from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has taken a step towards understanding the effects of alternative and integrative medicine practices, especially Ayurveda, on the human microbiome, genome and physiology. Senior author Deepak Chopra, Professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine says, “It appears that a one-week of Panchakarma programme can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it.”

He adds, “As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health.” The findings of a study are published in the journal Scientific Reports. “Our programme of research is dedicated to addressing these gaps in the literature,” says first author Christine Tara Peterson.

The results of a clinical trial involved 119 healthy male and female participants between 30 and 80 years of age, showed that a week of Panchakarma — the Ayurvedic-based programme with its benefits from vegetarian food, meditation, yoga and massages, the experts feel, can lead to measurable decreases in aspects related with inflammation, cholesterol regulation and cardiovascular disease risk. Peterson adds, “Panchakarma refers to a detoxification and rejuvenation protocol involving massage, herbal therapy and other procedures to help strengthen and rejuvenate the body.” The participants in the study stayed at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California.

‘Pancha’ stands for five. What is Panchakarma? Noted columnist on Ayurveda Sheela Rani Chunkath says that the elaborate detoxifying regimen, the Panchakarma therapy, has been in vogue in Ayurveda for thousands of years. According to her, it comprises five main purification procedures – “Vamana or emesis therapy, Virechana or purgation therapy, Nasya or nasal administration, Basti or medicated enema and Rakthamoksha or bloodletting useful source.”