Metal miracles

Two and a half-year-old Avsar Khan was diagnosed for acute megakayo blastic leukemia (a rare form of blood cancer) at the Aga Khan hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1987. He was then referred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The doctors gave him three months' time. December 27, 1996 was a memorable day for Avsar; he celebrated a healthy 12th birthday. On the same day, the vice president K R Narayanan inaugurated the Vaidya Chander Prakash (vcp) Cancer Research Foundation established by Vaidya Balendu Prakash who cured Avsar.

The institute is pioneering research into the scientific aspect of ayurvedic preparations and trying to wed ancient prescriptions with modern technology. The clinic has recently installed darkfield microscopy for live blood analysis, which gives a definite picture of healthy and unhealthy parts of the body. Such modern tools are being used for the first time in ayurveda. Rasayan Shastra , the method used by Balendu, is an ancient ayurvedic practice that was taught to him by his father and mentor, the late Vaidya Chander Prakesh. In Rasayan Shastra , toxic metals are ground with other herbs in measured proportions and heated in hearths equipped with heat sensors that show the tempera-ture on a computer screen. This helps correlate temperature and particle size of the metals with changes in the composition of the compounds (Down To Earth, Vol 4, No 13).

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