The most compelling observation I made in my time in India studying with Dr. Ashwin was the incredible efficacy of natural treatment for all kinds of "serious" illness.
In India, herbal medicine is effectively used as the first line of treatment of many syndromes for which most Americans commonly wouldn't think about consulting with an herbalist. First hand, I witnessed the effective treatment of cardiovascular disease, typhoid fever, mumps, diabetic neuropathy, recurrent urinary tract infections, hemorrhoids, lactation issues, insomnia, glaucoma, retinopathies, even myopia.
Having trained in Western biomedicine, the importance of conventional medicine cannot be overstated. Dr. Ashwin was also trained in biomedicine and referred out or recommended prescription medication to his patients when warranted.
Ayurvedic care can be provided without interruption of Western, conventional medicine for many patients. But sometimes, it isn't necessary. I'll never forget the pride on one of Dr. Ashwin's patient's faces when she gleefully presented her toes to me for inspection. A diabetic for many years, she sought care with Dr. Ashwin when two of her toes became infected with gangrene after an injury that wouldn't heal properly. She lived in a remote village, far from adequate Western OR Ayurvedic care. In a Western context, she would have almost assuredly had those toes removed and been given strong drug therapies to stop the infection. She credited Dr. Ashwin with the fact that she was able to retain all 10 toes and had only used his herbal medicines to do so.
I can't say enough about the efficacy and safety of Ayurvedic herbalism--in America as well as India-- as integrative care for enhancing family health, from the babes on up to the grandparents. Kids can benefit from the gentle approach to boost the body's natural systems in acute and chronic concerns. Patients with more advanced illnesses can gain great symptom relief and even slow the advancement of chronic syndromes.