We, at Asoka Lifescience Ltd. are deeply aggrieved at the mayhem and manslaughter caused in Mumbai by a handful of gun-toting youth brainwashed and bought into believing that killing people for money, chauvinism, and fake patriotism is justified.

We are shocked at the turn of events and condemn the terrorist activities that has been going on in our nation for quite a few years. It’s not right to blame any one particular group unless it has claimed responsibility for the attacks; but what is going on is just mindless… absurd…

We have heard a lot being spoken about the ‘indomitable’ spirit of Mumbai which shows in the people’s attitude when they board the local trains to commute to work following a terrorist attack the previous day. But this eulogizing must not become a stale habit. It has become customary to salute the spirit of Mumbai every time such things happen, and then forget everything. What we need is some solid action, and not dry, hollow words.

We must fight back but, how to go about it?  

How did the terrorists at all get in? Is it that easy? What were the police doing at that time? Why aren’t the police being equipped with more effective arms and ammuniton? Why aren’t more number of policemen being employed for more intense vigil and beefed up security? There is already so much unemployment; recruiting some of the unemployed youth would solve some of that problem, too.

The Ministry could use this recent attack as a campaign, inspire the common man (remember the Indian Navy campaign of “Do you have it in you?”) and form an anti-terrorist division where dedicated youth would join and serve the country (read lay their lives in fighting terrorists). If LeT, Al-Quaida can recruit MIT grads, Harvard grads, why can’t our Govt. do the same thing and turn the tables on them? Everything is fair in war… (forget love).

Last but not the least, we pay our tribute to all the defenders of our nation who lost their lives in saving other lives. Our heart goes out to them who lost their dear ones, and we mourn deeply their loss. We extend our sympathy and wishes to everyone remotely affected by the attacks and hope everything will be normal soon enough.

Exclusive news coverage by Times of India on Res-Q, the wonder drug by Jadavpur University. With the approach of the winter season, asthma is on the rise. This is the first time that a research product of the Jadavpur University will find its way to the market. Read more on this news:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/JU_laboratory_brings_out_wonder_drug_for_asthma_patients/articleshow/3656555.cms

Change is everywhere. On one hand, we can see innovations in the field of science and technology; while on the other hand we observe a return to the ancient tradition. People all over the world are waking up to the need for Ayurvedic medicines and the stressing the importance of herbal medicines in curing or managing certain serious ailments. And India is the last country to realize the potential of this phenomenon, although it is here that the medicine was born.

 

However, better late than never, they say! And purists are now considering the importance of universal recognition for international promotion of herbal medicines. In a recent incident, almost 200 samples of herbal medicines bought from the Internet were tested by researchers of an American University and found to contain rich deposits of minerals and metals. This has come as a punch in the face of the herbal medicine market in India. For the first time, the Government is launching a quality checking program, a vigilance program unparalleled in the history of ancient Ayurveda. The Health Ministry has announced that all Ayurvedic doctors as well as patients can report any adverse effects of Ayurveda to a regulatory body that will investigate the matter and take legal actions against the company to ensure a ‘clean’ reputation for the Ayurvedic drugs.

 

The national research centre selected for this program is the Post Graduate Institute of Ayurveda at the Gujarat Ayurveda University, Jamnagar. There will be eight regional centres under this apex body that will report individual cases to the committee. The committee will cross check the cases before taking any decision. The committee will also report the case to the World Health Organization if the violation of norms is of serious nature. Such a pharmacovigilance initiative has also been taken in the past for preventing the corruption in the manufacturing and selling of modern allopathic medicines, but it yielded no result, thanks to corrupt doctors and irresponsible pharma companies.

 

For a $300 million market in India alone, and almost $1 billion world over, this was a move that had to come sooner or later. They say, “Health is wealth”. Better if India understands the potential of its traditional medicines promising heath to the individual and wealth to the economy!

CFC (chloroflurocarbon) inhalers are all set to become extinct by 2008. This is a result of the Montreal Protocol signed by many countries in 1989. According to the agreement, 160 countries had taken the vow of phasing out all CFC related products from the world by 2010. CFC is responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer of atmosphere. This ozone layer protects us against the harmful UV rays of the sun, risk of skin cancer, and certain major health problems. But CFC is also a near indispensable thing in our daily use. Its use in aerosol sprays was banned in the late 1970s, but only on paper. Deodorants and Air Conditioners use CFCs even today. Add to this the use of CFC inhalers, a must-have for asthma patients.  

 

The phasing out of CFC inhalers is a cause of concern for asthma patients since these are approved and prescribed forms of medication for people suffering from asthma. These inhalers are also economical as against the HFA (hydrofluroalkane) inhalers that will be phased out by 2010. However as of now, these HFA inhalers will cost almost 20% more than the CFC inhalers. Since asthma is a chronic disease, sufferers usually take these medicines on a regular basis, and have a separate budget for their medication. A sudden hike in prices will affect their expense pattern and influence their decision to discontinue the medication.

 

There are 22-25 million asthma and bronchitis patients in India, and a $1billion herbal medicine market in India. It is highly probable that a considerable percentage of inhaler users will switch to Ayurvedic form of medication. But, with herbal medicine companies harping more on the conventional approaches and disapproving any form of modern technology incorporation, the enlightened section of the population will prefer inhalers. The new poly herbal asthma medicine Res-Q from Asoka Lifescience Limited is an exception in this regard. It has been made by using a novel drug delivery technology, and dissolves in the mouth itself bypassing the entire metabolic process. The future of the herbal medicine market now looks bright.

Herbal medicines are consumed by almost 80% of the world’s population. In India alone, the industry stands at a huge $1 billion. The demand comes from the people’s faith in the 5000 year old science of life. Despite many allegations, people never lose their faith in Ayurvedic medicines. This leads to an increase in demand over the years. This is primarily because of the distrust associated to anything chemical, and modern drugs are composed of chemicals and nothing else. Herbal medicines stand for anything natural, and provide us a chance to establish an association with nature. This explains the consumer attitudes behind the purchase decisions.

But, the fly-by-night quack Ayurvedic companies are taking advantage of this faith. According to a recent finding, a whopping twenty percent of Ayurvedic medicines sold over the Internet contains over permissible limits of lead, mercury, or arsenic. The conclusion was arrived at after the researchers of a university purchased 193 samples of medicines available over the Internet and analyzed them for possible toxicity. And their doubts came to be true. 

This is shocking since the herbal medicine market is mainly a export oriented market and the main demand comes from the foreigners, affected by health tourism and looking towards the east to fix their physiological problems. These guys are an easily decieved lot, and seldom cross check the products or even the profile of the company. The decision is influenced by an eye catching design of the website and a compelling copy that enthralls the readers. Some aggressive and often misguided SEO efforts lead to high Page Rank which makes the company listed among the first few pages of any search engine. Most of these products flaunt a GMP certification and there is no means by which you can verify this certification. 

So, if you are living abroad and looking for herbal remedies to relieve you of asthma or other chronic illnesses, then don’t go for any Tom-Dick-or Harry manufacturer. Take time to know more about the disease, its chances of recovery and the available medications. If you are purchasing something over the Internet, do a Google search for the company to look for any media mention or press release that has come out in a national daily. Also, look for the research and development work of the company. Remember, Ayurveda is not just a quack medication. You can’t just mix some herbs, boil them and say, “Here is a miracle cure for Asthma!” It requires careful clinical experimentation and a proper lab-oriented approach to churn out the right medicine. Thankfully, the research work of Asoka Lifescience Limited is undertaken by Jadavpur University, one of the largest universities in Asia. Just the right approach needed to rub off the blemishes that fake companies put on Ayurveda.

Asthma is said to have been caused by a number of factors that include exposure to allergens, genetic factors, air pollution, passive smoking, and stress among others. But, if we go by some recent studies conducted by a medical research institute in New Zealand, the risk of a person getting asthma increases manifold if that particular individual had taken paracetamol painkiller as a kid. The conclusion was arrived at after analyzing the data of studies conducted on more than 200,000 children spanning 31 countries. The topic of the study was the risk factor present in asthma, eczema, and hay fever. It was found that if a child is given paracetamol to treat fever in the first year of life, he/she runs a 46% risk of developing asthma by the age of 6 or 7. 

The scientific explanation offered for this is that the ‘glutathione’ present in the lungs defends the airways from pollution and smoke. The action of paracetamol reduces this level of glutathione and makes the delicate airways of the lungs vulnerable to allergic attacks.

It is not an overnight proposition that paracetamol intake in your childhood influences your chances of getting asthma. In fact, this allegation has been there for the last ten years and many studies have linked these two as a remote cause-and-effect proposition. However, the sheer volume of the sample survey looks convincing enough for the people to come to a conclusion. If this is found to be true, it could lead to a remarkable discovery in the field of chronic respiratory distress, since the usage of paracetamol is quite high in all age groups.

Alternatively, one could also look for other ways to reduce fever in children without resorting to allopathic medication. One good way to bring the temperature down is by sponging the child’s body with lukewarm water. In fact, there is a famous quote by French playwright Moliere. It runs like this: “Most men die of their remedies, not of their illnesses”. We, as a race so dependant on medication and complaining of side effects would do better by following the saying!

Ayurvedic industry is gaining momentum in the Indian subcontinent and major pharmaceutical companies are diversifying their reach to cater to the growing demands of the herbal remedies. After Ranbaxy and Cadilla, the next big name to enter the Ayurveda market is Ipca Laboratories, a Mumbai based pharmaceutical company with assets of Rs1100 crore. However, the ayurvedic drugs are going to be marketed through a new subsidiary called Ipca Traditional Remedies that has been set up especially for the segment. The company has also invested Rs.20 crore for its new endeavour.
The targeted ailments that Ipca’s medicines promise to cure reveal an interesting story. Ipca launches medicines for acute viral hepatitis, anaemia, anorexia and fatigue. Later on, medications for asthma, bronchitis, nasal allergies, acute promyelocytic leukaemia and others would also be introduced. Ranbaxy and Cadilla had already started their herbal segment, and this time it’s Ipca. Ayurvedic drugs are already a rage all across the world. The entire industry stands at an estimated Rs. 6000-7000 crore. With a new entrant in the market, competition is going to be even tougher and that will only ensure global standards of manufacturing. Gradually, the small enterprises that thrive on the blind beliefs of people, encashing Ayurveda as a ’6000 year old science of life’ will be wiped out. This can be good as well as bad. The good thing is that Ayurveda will get brand names and those still fascinated by the magical efficacy of modern drugs will revert to Ayurveda. The bad thing is that with the small companies losing out to brand competition, other small enterprises will be discouraged to enter the segment. This can cause growth of monopoly power in an increasingly disproportionate market.
However the sad part is that all these companies using Ayurveda as a means of diversification are using it only to boost up sales that modern drugs are failing to cover. Talk about India being the dumping ground for banned medicines from the US! These companies are focusing mostly on lifestyle and beauty segments. Let’s see what remedy for asthma Ipca can bring out.
In this respect, Asoka Lifescience Limited has done a plausible job by launching a unique drug for asthma. It’s one step above the conventional Ayurvedic segment. It’s called poly herbal and the tablet called Res-Q has been made by using a novel drug delivery system, after research and development done by Jadavpur University. Let’s see if the biggies will walk the extra mile and focus on finding out ways to relieve the people of more serious chronic ailements other than remedies to grow hair on a shiny pate or modifying the vital assets of the  human body.

Many are wondering why our company is named Asoka. One curious and witty consumer even commented if we were propagating Buddhism (like the famous King Ashoka) by any chance. Well, our medicines are only violent enough to feed on viruses! From that point of view, we are definitely propagating non-violence to the organs of the body. And going by Buddha’s teachings, we humbly acknowledge that it’s just not possible to find a single human being who has not been touched by sufferings, either due to death or disease. That’s the only thing definite and constant about human life. It stretches and makes us suffer. That’s where Asoka comes in. Asoka is the name of a famous tree. Legend has it that Gautam Buddha was born under this tree in Lumbini. The tree is well known for its flowers and beautiful foliage. Besides, this tree is an integral part of herbal medicine and is used for curing a lot of disorders especially of the female body. All these factors taken together give us reasons enough to consider this as our namesake. We are about to spread our branches very soon in the pharmaceutical market of the Indian subcontinent.  And Buddha wishing, we are all poised to attain nirvana!

The human body is an intricate piece of mysterious art. It is a complicated machinery where every organ and their functioning is linked with the other.  It’s very difficult to ascertain the inherent relationship and determine to what extent they are dependent upon one another. However, researchers are trying their level best to unravel this mystery and the recent developments substantiate this statement.

A link has been found between asthma and the gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Studies have indicated that people with GERD also suffer from asthma. This is basically because the acid inhaled in small amounts during the reflux attacks goes to the lungs and induces changes in the immune system to create conditions for asthma. Thus, people who are in the threat of asthma might as well consider the following preventive measures to fight asthma arising out of GERD.

These include mainly changes in your diet and avoiding heavy meals. Apart from eating smaller meals and finishing your dinner several hours before going to sleep, you should also alter your sleeping patterns. Elevate the head side of the bed raised by a few inches.

Since asthma falls under the category of lifestyle diseases, a gradual change in lifestyle can reduce the incidence of the disease to a large extent. Since no treatment has been invented for asthma, following a disciplined lifestyle is all we can do to combat it.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects our breathing. It arises due to a contraction of the airways. These airways are the tubes that carry oxygen in and out of our body.

What causes asthma?

There are no definite causes of asthma. Researchers have not been able to identify any particular factor to be wholly responsible for asthma. The common thing among all asthma patients is inflammation of airways which is caused by reaction to cigarette smoke, pollen, animal hair, dampness, etc.

How does an asthma attack occur?

We have an asthma attack when the inner walls of the airways swell up due to reaction to some substance or situation which is known as a trigger. This makes the passages narrower and lesser amounts of air flow to the lung tissues. This causes breathing trouble to the patient.

How do I know if I have an asthma attack?

You know you have an asthma attack when you have:

·         Chronic coughing

·         Wheezing that is a whistling sound produced during exhalation.

·         Shortness of breath

·         Tightness of chest  

What are the types of asthma?

There are two broad classifications of asthma:

·         Extrinsic (allergic) Asthma
This is the most common form of asthma and usually occurs due to the immune system’s response to some allergens like pollens, animal dander, or dust mite particles. It is prevalent among the younger people who usually have other allergy related problems.

 

·         Intrinsic Asthma

This is due to some serious respiratory infection and is not related to allergens. People with intrinsic asthma are patients of stress, or are exposed to harmful fumes and gases.  

When is it right to consult a doctor?

Asthma starts with some very common symptoms that one might as well dismiss as common cold or general fatigue. You know when to consult a doctor when:

·         A general fatigue accompanies you all the time.

·         Your throat itches.

·         You have a runny nose.

·         There is a headache that never seems to leave you.

·         You develop chest tightness.

·         There is a change in the colour, thickness or amount of mucus.   

Is asthma curable?

Asthma is NOT a curable disease. However, with proper medication and precautions, the attacks can be greatly reduced with time. There is no definite time period as to how long the treatment may go on. It varies from person to person, although some people have to carry on with their medication for the rest of my life.

Is it possible to prevent an asthma attack?

Asthma attacks cannot be prevented but the frequency can be greatly reduced. The following precautions need to be taken:

·         Keep your house clean and dust free

·         Keep your surroundings clean

·         Avoid dampness and humid conditions

·         Do not smoke

·         Do not use perfumes

·         Do not allow pets in the house

·         Do not take up gardening as a hobby

·         Do not take food or substances you are allergic to 

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