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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 107-109

Concept of bioethics in ayurveda


Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission03-Dec-2019
Date of Acceptance27-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sadhana Durgaprasad Misar Wajpeyi
Meghdoot Apartment, M5, Paloti Road, Sawangi (M), Wardha, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdmimsu.jdmimsu_204_19

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  Abstract 


Medical Ethics is the branch of ethics that deals with moral issues in medical practice. Bioethics deals with ethical issues in health profession, medicine and science. Bioethics and its application are practiced from ancient period. The awareness of ethics helps health professionals to recognize difficult conditions and to deal with them in a proper way. The main aim was to study the concepts of ethics given in classics of Ayurveda as well as in conventional medicine. By reviewing the literature of Ayurveda and conventional medicine. There are four basic principles of bioethics namely autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice which are known as “Principlism”. Originally, Ayurveda has advocated an ethical code of conduct in various aspects. This paper mainly focus on studying universally accepted principles of bioethics along with bioethics described in Ayurveda. It was observed that Ethical code of conduct is elaborately and very clearly defined and described in classics of Ayurveda in the form of Sadvritta, Chatushpada, Yogya, Vaidyavritti, Aachara Rasayana, Nidanparivarjana and Pathyapathya. Hence, Ayurveda should be considered as a pioneer in setting up the basics of bioethics. Medical ethics is a fundamental part of Ayurveda and its inclusion in medical teaching and in day to day practice will definitely pave way to excellent results.

Keywords: Bioethics, Chatushpada, Ethics, Vaidyavritti


How to cite this article:
Wajpeyi SD. Concept of bioethics in ayurveda. J Datta Meghe Inst Med Sci Univ 2019;14, Suppl S2:107-9

How to cite this URL:
Wajpeyi SD. Concept of bioethics in ayurveda. J Datta Meghe Inst Med Sci Univ [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 6];14, Suppl S2:107-9. Available from: http://www.journaldmims.com/text.asp?2019/14/6/107/296811




  Introduction Top


Ethics is concerned with moral principles, values, and standards of conduct (WHO). Bioethics deals with ethical issues in health profession, medicine, and science.[1] Bioethics and its application are practiced from ancient period. Now a days, there is great advancement takes place in medical field and with that challenges regarding are also increasing for health professionals to deal with ethical issues. Therefore, certainly, importance of bioethics emerges nowadays. Bioethics brings understanding and knowledge among medical professionals about medical practice. Bioethics involves medical ethics and studying about balance between benefits, harm, and duties. Bioethics contributes to the rights and responsibilities of patients as persons. The awareness of ethics helps health professionals to recognize difficult conditions and to deal with them in a proper way. According to Ayurveda, health does not just mean a disease-free body but also a healthy mind, soul, and society. “To maintain health of healthy person by prevention of disease and to treat the diseased person” is the main objective of Ayurveda.[2] Ayurveda sets the code of conduct to achieve this goal.

Originally, Ayurveda has advocated an ethical code of conduct in various aspects. It was observed that ethical code of conduct is elaborately described in classics of Ayurveda in the form of Sadvritta, Chatushpada, Yogya, Vaidyavritti, Aachara Rasayana, Nidanparivarjana, and Pathyapathya. This article aims to study universally accepted principles of bioethics along with bioethics described in Ayurveda.

The aim was to study the concepts of ethics given in classics of Ayurveda as well as in conventional medicine.

There are four basic principles of bioethics, namely autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice, which are known as “Principlism”. These are adapted as universal ethics.[3]

Autonomy views the rights of an individual to self-determination and respectful attitude toward patient and profession. It is the right of the patient to make decisions regarding their own health.[4] Respect for autonomy is the basis of informed consent and advance directives. In Ayurveda, Chatushpada and Vaidyavritti are given to describe the qualities of medical professionals and their behavior toward patients.

The success of Chikitsa depends on four factors known as Chikitsa Chatushpada which includes Bhishag, Upastha, Rogi, and Dravya.[5]

Among these four basic factors of Chikitsa Chatushpada, Vaidya occupies the most important place, therefore, he has been listed first.

According to Acharya Charak, Vaidya (physician) should possess four qualities such as Shastra (having detailed knowledge), Drushtakarma (having extensive practical experience), Daksha (alert or dexterity), and Shuchi (purity of mind and body).

Acharya Charak described the four qualities of Paricharak (attendant) such as Buddhiman (intelligent to understand and act accordingly), Daksha (alert or active), Anurakta (affectionate), and Shuchi (purity).

The Rogi (patient) taking treatment should possess the qualities like Jnapaka (Good memory), Bhishagvashya (Obedient), Satvavaan (Having good strength), Fearlessness or courage. So that the patient will be describe all his symptoms properly. These qualities of patient enable him to follow instructions given by physician.

According to Acharya Charak, the Aushadhi (Drug) used for a patient should possess the four ideal qualities such as Bahuta (abundant), Yogyatam (effective), Aanekvidhakalpana (multiple formulations), and Sampat (richness in potency). These all give a clear idea about ethics related to medical professionals.

The medical ethics are described in Ayurveda in the form of vaidyavrutti. Vaidyavrutti include (Karunyaarteshu) 'empathy' (campassionate), (Maitree) 'friendliness' and (Upekshanam) avoid the untreatable diseases and (Shakyepriti) concentrate on those that can be cured.[6] Beneficence refers to actions that promote the well-being of others, that is, any action done for the benefit of others and to prevent harm to the patient. It is the duty of a doctor to act in the best interests of patients and their families. Benefits must be proportionate to risks. In Ayurveda, Yogya Vidhi, Nidanparivarjana (prevention), and Pathyapathya Kalpana are described, which mainly includes the actions beneficial to patients.

Acharya Sushruta described Yogya Vidhi in Yogyasutriyamadhyaya to make a student competent (Yogya). There are many examples of Yogya Vidhi described in Sushruta Samhita such as excision (Chhedana Karma) on pumpkin/cucumber, puncturing (Vedhana) on veins of dead animal/stalk of lily plant, and bandaging (Bandhana) on mannequins.[7]

In Pathyapathya, Acharya Charaka has described the regimen of indicated and contraindicated diet to avoid the risk of harm. Disease-specific Pathya (wholesome diet) and Apathya (unwholesome diet) are explained in Ayurveda classics.[8]

Nidanparivarjana means avoiding the causative factors that can be equated with principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence. Nonmaleficence means do not harm the patients. It is more important not to harm the patient, than to do them good. It is refraining from providing ineffective treatments. Nonmaleficence is clearly described in Ayurveda in the form of Vaidyanimitta Vyapada which means harm due to carelessness.

There are many evidence of nonmaleficence found in Ayurveda such as Yogya (fit/indications) and Ayogya (unfit/contraindications) for Shodhana therapy and Vaidyanimitta Vyapada.[9]

Justice is the even distribution in benefits and risks of the health-care system through all groups of society. Justice means that all should be treated fairly with equal morals. Sadachara (Sadvruttapalan) mentioned in Ayurveda means showing compassion toward the suffering and wishing good for all. Aachara Rasayana means good physical and mental conduct as a rejuvenating therapy. It implies moral, ethical, and benevolent conduct such as truth, nonviolence, cleanliness, mental and personal hygiene, devotion, compassion, and yogic lifestyle.[10] The concept is to change our behaviors to reverse the disease process and stay in balance condition. Veracity, privacy, confidentiality, and fidelity are four ethical rules. Veracity means telling truth, respecting autonomy, and informed consent. Privacy is the right of a person to remain private and not to disclose information. Confidentiality is sharing private information on a “need-to-know basis” only. Fidelity is maintaining the duty to care for all. All these are described in Ayurveda. Hence, Ayurveda should be considered a pioneer in setting up the basics of bioethics.


  Conclusion Top


  • Medical ethics is a fundamental part of Ayurveda, and its inclusion in medical teaching and day-to-day practice will definitely pave the way for excellent results
  • Medical profession is noble and it will be more respected if we follow the principles of Ayurveda along with medical ethics at the present day too.


Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Operational Guidelines for Ethics Committees that Review Biomedical Research. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shastri RD, Arthedasmahamuliya., Charaka Samhita. Reprint. Varanasi: Choukhambha Bharati Academy; Chapter 30; 2005. p. 587.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Beauchamp TL, Childress JF. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 3rd ed. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1989.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Wujastyk D. Well-Mannered Medicine. Medical Ethics and Etiquette in Classical Ayurveda. Oxford University Press; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Tripathi B, Pandey GS. Charak Samhita, with Charak Chandrika Hindi Commentary, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 09., Ver. 3. Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan; 2007. p. 207.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Sharma PV. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Khuddakchatushpada Adhyaya. 9/26 Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2011. p. 64.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Shastri AD. Sushruta Samhita with Ayurveda Tatva Sandipika Hindi Commentary Sushruta Samhita 9\4, Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan; 2010. p. 40.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Shastri RD, Charaka A. Charaka Samhita, Chikisthasthana. 1/1/3, Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Bharati Academy; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Sharma PV, Charak Samhita, Siddhi Sthana, Panchakarmiyasiddhi Adhyaya. 2nd Reprint Edition. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2011. p. 596-604.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Shastri RD Charaka Samhita,. Rasayanadhyaya, Reprint. Varanasi: Choukhambha Bharati Academy; Chapter 1-4; 2005. p. 58.  Back to cited text no. 10
    




 

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