As medical science struggles to find a cure for AIDS, some traditional therapists in India claim they have found it already.
The latest herbal specialist to claim an AIDS antidote says his medicine can reverse the symptoms of the disease.
And in a country where indigenous medicine is very popular, many of those afflicted with the deadly virus are willing to take the chance.
These are the wonder drugs which – according to their creator – can cure the most talked about ailment of modern times – AIDS.
T.A. Majeed, a mining engineer from the South Indian state of Kerala, claims to have discovered the magic formula to reverse the symptoms of AIDS and restore immunity.
At a press conference in Bombay, Majeed said his 100-day herbal medicine course has helped cure nearly five-thousand patients so far.
It’s good business too, with his drugs selling for nearly 300 dollars in India and 800 dollars abroad.
The only problem is his credibility – Majeed is not a doctor and his cure for AIDS has not been tested scientifically.
“Four of the herbs out of 23 that I have added in this medicine, it is meant for killing the virus. It kills the virus in three days.”
SUPER CAPTION : T.A. MAJEED, Herbalist
Majeed says his challenge goes out to the highest research authorities, who are still trying to find a cure for AIDS, to test his medicine.
India remains the heartland for traditional therapies.
Street doctors selling a bewildering variety of herbs can be found in most Indian cities.
Traditional medicines may not sway the hard-nosed clinician.
But indigenous systems of medicine like “Ayurveda” meaning the “science of life” have very strong roots among the people, especially in the countryside.
There has been a strong revival of interest in these natural forms of therapy.
But many believe a lack of scientific credentials makes alternative medicine prone to superstitious practices and exploitation by quacks.
There are as many fake herbal doctors selling cheap remedies as there are scholars in traditional medical therapies.
Dhamman Singh tours the country with his natural remedies for ailments ranging from stomach ulcers to diabetes.
Practising a profession running in his family for generations, he is convinced that even the most complicated diseases can be cured by nature.
SOUNDBITE ( Hindi):
“God has created all these natural cures. These are the herbs used by many famous traditional practitioners to treat people. For those who realise the power of herbs, it is a miracle. For those who don’t, it is nothing.”
SUPER CAPTION: DHAMMAN SINGH , Street doctor
For the manufacturers of traditional medicine, it is boom time.
Even conventional drug companies are going in for making Ayurvedic medicines simply because they sell more.
Some Ayurvedic practitioners also claim to have a cure for AIDS , a disease they say was known to ancient Indian scholars.
“Our ancient Vedic texts mention this disease. It has only been given a new name now.” SUPER CAPTION: DR. AJANI KUMAR MISHRA , Ayurvedic Consultant
The medical fraternity seems to be treating these claims with a little cynicism and a lot of disbelief.
Because of the social stigma attached to AIDS, a lot of people are tempted to try out the so-called natural cures rather than get themselves tested in modern scientific labs.
According to some doctors working closely with AIDS patients, non-medical people like Majeed are just exploiting the sentiments of the sufferers desperate for a cure.
The doctors say these claims should be published in reputed international medical journals so that the entire medical community has a chance to evaluate them.
SOUNDBITE ( English):
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