'Homoeopathy growing at 30 percent annually in India'

New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) Homoeopathy is growing at nearly 30 percent annually in India, but in spite of that it is a cottage industry, says a leading physician who claims the alternate medicine system can combat schizophrenia, insomnia, skin disorders and even reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

'It has been clinically proven that homoeopathy effectively cures schizophrenia brought about by anxiety and panic, and stress-induced insomnia,' homoeopath Mukesh Batra, who runs the 'Dr Batra' clinic chain with 80 medical centres in 33 cities and four countries, told IANS.

Giving industry figures from studies, Batra said: 'The gap between the nearly Rs.15,000 crore allopathic medicine industry and the Rs.2,500 crore homoeopathic industry in India would take at least 50 years to close.'

'This, despite the fact that homoeopathy as an alternative medicine industry is growing at nearly 30 percent annually in the country,' Batra said.

Homoeopathy is still a cottage industry in India, though the country is one of the top consumers of homoeopathic drugs in the world, Batra said.

'The biggest roadblock to the boom of homoeopathy in India is the absence of over-the-counter drugs unlike allopathic medicines,' Batra said.

Health is a state imperative, but the government has not offered incentives for the industry to grow, he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, homoeopathy is the second largest medical system in the world and is considered a radical medical science. Estimates cite that 550 million people use homoeopathy medicines worldwide and it contributes to nearly 14 percent of the total alternative medicine market.

Homoeopathy was founded in 1796 by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the law of similars, according to which a substance capable of producing certain symptoms in a healthy individual is capable of treating similar symptoms in a diseased person. Thus, the logic is to evoke a healing response from the body itself rather than trying to suppress the disease manifestation.

Batra's book, 'Healing With Homoeopathy: A Guide to Natural Health and Well-being' (published by Jaico) was released in the capital last week. The book dissects 100 illnesses in an alphabetical order. Batra explains the conditions, the variations of the diseases and what homoeopathic remedy is likely to work best.

'People have become aware of psychosomatic (mental) diseases now. Earlier, no one bothered to recognize mood swings. The world today has a far more stressful emotional environment because of the pressure we put on ourselves,' he said.

'Skin disorders like vitiligo, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema are of psychosomatic background. Itching is caused by mental stress,' the homoeopath said.

Nearly 90 percent of childhood and adult asthma and respiratory problems are psychosomatic in nature, he said.

Homoeopathy is known to cure mental disorders not only in humans but in animals too, the doctor said.

Among those afflicted with cancer, Batra claims to have been 'able to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy' with his medicines.

Batra has, however, not found much success with AIDS.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)