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‘Asava is a well-known traditional fermented biomedicine in Ayurvedic pharmaceutical sciences’

With Asava now becoming sugar-free, it will open the doors for diabetic patients in India to benefit from these Ayurvedic medicines, informs Dr Saurabh Singh, Associate Professor, Ayurvedic Pharmacy Department, Lovely Professional University to Akanki Sharma

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Share a brief about the sugar-free Ayurvedic Asava for diabetics that you have developed. When did the process start and end?
The ‘novel sugar-free Ayurvedic Asava’ is a new fermented biomedicine developed for diabetics.
Asava is a well-known traditional fermented biomedicine in Ayurvedic pharmaceutical sciences. It forms the base for several Ayurvedic medicines for treating large human body systems like the nervous system, blood circulatory system, respiratory system or even excretory system. However, diabetic patients are reluctant to use these products due to the higher percentage of sugar/jaggery and honey present in them.

In India, the diabetic Mellitus disorder is found among 72.9 million people. Considering a large number of diabetic patients, we decided to conduct several studies and developed the novel sugar-free Ayurvedic asava formulation which is suitable to them.

The fermentation process of sugar-free asava formulation and composition is completely different from the traditional asavas. It has been prepared using anti-diabetic herbs as its fermenting initiators instead of sugar, jaggery or honey, which makes it safe for consumption by diabetics. The formulation can be directly consumed by patients with or without water.

With Asava now becoming sugar-free, it will open the doors for diabetic patients in India to benefit from these Ayurvedic medicines. The formulation will be beneficial for diabetic management and other associated problems like weakness, fever, cough, cold and headache.

We started this research in 2012 and filed a patent to protect the IPR. After that, we focussed on the major area of research work which includes product development, process validation, finished product analysis and pre-clinical trials. We completed all of these activities within three to four years. In August 2019, the Government of India has finally granted the patent after completing the examination.

When and where was the clinical trial for this product conducted? What was the size of this trial? How many people were involved, what were the conditions, etc?
Clinical trials were not required as the chosen ingredients are clinically safe – on the basis of an official compendium like – Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Ayurvedic Formulary of India and the traditional texts of Ayurveda.

However, we conducted the pre-clinical trials using streptozotocin-induced anti-diabetic models on Albino Wistar male rats. The biochemical tests related to kidney, liver and pancreas function were performed and the formulation was found to be very effective. The experimental protocol was approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lovely Professional University.

What challenges came your way during the process and how did you overcome them? 
We faced challenges during the fermentation process of the formulation. It was difficult to get the required amount of alcohol without adding the traditional fermenting initiators like jaggery/sugar. However, we succeeded in generating the required amount of alcohol with the help of anti-diabetic herbs which makes this formulation different from traditional asava and arista.

For commercialisation of this product, which pharma companies are you in touch with? Which regions are you targetting?
We are in talks with a few Ayurvedic/pharma companies like Multani Pharmaceuticals, New Delhi; Shree Dhanwantari Herbals, Amritsar, Punjab; Shree Ayurved Sevasadan, Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh and Sri Herbasia Biotech, Amritsar, Punjab for the commercialisation of our product.

What will be the cost of this product? And, can there be any side effects, too?
The cost of 225 ml novel sugar-free Asava formulation will be approximately Rs 140. As far as side effects are concerned, we used only natural ingredients to make the formulation and there were no side effects reported during the pharmacological evaluation.

What all steps are you taking to validate your research? Any support from the Government of India?
The Government of India has granted the patent to Lovely Professional University for novel sugar-free asava formulation and its process of preparation.

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