Traditional Medicinal Knowledge System and Intellectual Property Rights: Scientific Validation of Tri-doshas in Ayurveda

P A, Sabareesh ; A L, Reeta Sony


The role played by Traditional Medicinal Knowledge (TMK) such as, Ayurveda in personalized and preventive healthcare has its foundations in the Humoral Doctrine of Tri-dosha: Vata, Pitha and Kapha. This encompasses the manifestation of Panchamahabhutas within the human body thereby exhibiting unique bodily characteristics. Advanced pharmacogenomics has scientifically been correlated to the traditionally known genetic attributes of Tri-dosha and human body – Prakriti. Simultaneously the advancement of ethnopharmacology has enabled the extraction of plant-derived chemical compounds and bioactive constituents in drug discovery leading to commercial manufacturing of modern medicine that are a part of global market economy and founded on the western ideals of IPR and monopolistic trade tendencies. This has led to the bypassing of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) resulting in rampant misappropriation and bioprospecting of TMK through obtaining of IP rights without prior approval. This has challenged the very subsistence and survival of indigenous and local communities thereby raising a strong necessity for a cooperative model of TMK sharing over the prevailing knowledge commercialization, private rights and monopolistic-capitalistic approaches. The objectives of the research paper is to discuss and understand the scientific validation of Tri-doshas, to critically analyze the protection of TMK through IPR, local customary laws & traditions and current national and international policy perspectives. Further, the research explores historical roots of modern western medicine to TMK and also analyses several cases where objections have successfully been raised by TKDL at the global patent offices against the grant of patent to prior art dealing with TMK of India. A detailed case study of the success story of the ‗Kani Model‘ of Access and Benefit Sharing has been made to emphasis on cooperative knowledge sharing.


Intellectual Property Rights; Traditional Medicinal Knowledge; Ayurveda; Tri-doshas; Ethnopharmacology; Access and Benefit Sharing; Semi-commons; Cooperative Knowledge Sharing; Inter-Governmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources; Traditional Knowledge and Folklore; AyuSoft

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