DR: What current work are you doing at the Cancer Prevention and Natural Products Research Center at Ohio State?
HS: We are continuing studies on hyperlipidemia [high levels of blood fats]. There is also research in collaboration with a hospital in India, on cancer. We have given adjuvant food supplements (Maharishi Amrit Kalash and others) to patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, to see if we can reduce the toxic effects of chemo.
DR: Do you have any results yet?
HS: We presented some of the findings at the International Cancer Congress, which was held last year in New Delhi. Across the board, there was a reduction in toxic effects, including less vomiting and diarrhea, better sleep, better blood counts and platelets, and psychological improvements. We had trouble after some time, after three or four months, keeping the control group. Both groups were getting the chemo. One group in addition was getting the supplement.
DR: Was it a question of ethics, as to whether it was proper to continue the control group, after it became clear that those people taking the herbs were benefiting greatly?
HS: It was not a question of ethics. These patients talked to each other.
DR: Ah! They made their own decisions. They solved the ethical question for you.
HS: [Laughter]. They didnât want to be a control group any more. They wanted to take the herbs, and they took them.
DR: Itâs understandable.
HS: It was very interesting. It was a very good study.
DR: Could you describe what an Ayurvedic practitioner learns from feeling a patientâs pulse?
HS: There are three different principles which govern the physiology of the body -- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is basically activity; Pitta is metabolism, digestion, the endocrine system and the skin; and Kapha is structure and cohesiveness. These work at different sites in the body, and each one is divided into five subdivisions. Then there are different structures in the body, different tissues. Ayurveda identifies seven different transformations of the tissue. The plasma, blood, muscle fat, and so on.
When you take the pulse, the pulse is connected to the human heart. The information coming into the heart is translated into the pulse. Also, whatever is happening in the mind, those fluctuations of consciousness are also related to the pulse, because the pulse is related to the nerves. So basically, what is present in the body and mind is represented in the pulse. [The practitioner discerns] the functioning of the three principles -- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Which is predominant, which is balanced, which is not balanced. You can actually feel this in the pulse. Then you can find out how the subdoshas (the five different subtypes of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) are functioning, and how the different tissue transformations are functioning. So you can get a lot of information from these pulses. It takes training, and some time and experience, but once you have that experience and training, you can find out a lot just from taking the pulse. I have seen it. Itâs a very profound experience. Itâs not just the pulse rate.
DR: What goals do you have for the near future, or far future?
HS: My goal now in life is to educate physicians, chiropractors, osteopaths, psychologists and other professionals in the basic principles and practices of Ayurveda, and also to educate the public. Because health can be maintained and disease can be prevented. Though technology is advancing, people are still falling sick. Health care costs keep on increasing, and there is no way to reduce that unless you introduce prevention. The best prevention is Ayurveda, because it is a very comprehensive system. Since it is based on natural medicine, which is devoid of toxicity, how could it be better? The interest is rising, and they are now starting medical at medical colleges.