AIIMS doctors say many people in India believe and take to alternative therapies, and, in some cases, positive outcomes have been observed. However, evidence generation has remained elusive as most practitioners do not share the ingredients used. “Our aim is to validate the medicines prescribed as alternative therapy. This will help standardise and exploit the potential of this therapy. Allopathic treatment has its limitations and it is often associated with side-effects while alternative therapies are considered safer,” Abhishek Shankar, nodal officer for the collaborative project, said.
The AIIMS project will also look into claims that cannabis helps in maintaining quality of life in cancer patients post-treatment and mitigates acute and chronic radiation and chemotherapy toxicities. “Many practitioners of the alternative therapy give herbo-minerals (bhashm, for example) for treating cancer. There are some studies suggesting it benefits the patient but no one knows in what quantity. Different practitioners give away the herbo-mineral in different quantities, sometimes leading to deterioration in kidney function also,” Dr Shankar said.