We live in a time when the obsession with Ayurveda and everything natural and unadulterated is on an upward spiral.
Be it grocery, fast consumable products or even cosmetics; we especially keep an eye out for brands and products with the ‘ayurvedic’ tag — thanks to the persistent dissemination of idea handed down through advertisements on mass and social media platforms.
Every consumable product that you find in a supermarket or grocery store undergoes various stages of inspection before actually being certified for consumption.
This is overseen by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the autonomous body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare that sets up the formulation and enforcement of food safety standards in the country.
So, do ayurvedic products also undergo quality assurance through accreditation just like every other product?
While many brands have been projecting themselves as suppliers of authentic ayurvedic products, whether or not they stick to the norms and regulations set up by accrediting bodies, is debatable.
Also, ayurvedic products are often confused with herbal and organic products. What differentiates the former from latter categories is the inclusion of metal extracts along with medicinal plant extracts in its concoctions.
For a product to be certified as ayurvedic, it has to be screened through quality verifications set by Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous body set up by the government and the Indian industry.
Through a voluntary certification scheme for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) products instated in 2009, QCI renders ayurvedic products with ‘premium’ and ‘standard’ quality labels that comply with international or national guidelines respectively. These are also known as AYUSH Premium Mark and AYUSH Standards Mark.
Ranging from capsules, shampoos, oils and syrups, only seven manufacturing companies carry this distinction in India, contrary to the information that various misinforming advertisements circulate across televisions and radios.
Ayurvedic drugs, on the other hand are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). To formulate a standardised and centralised system across India, DCGI is assisted by statutory bodies like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB) and Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani Drugs Consultative Committee (ASUDCC).
For medicinal drugs to have ayurvedic certification, they need to be issued the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Products (CoPP) for Ayurveda product by DCGI.
So next time you see a commodity being hyped as ayurvedic product, you can check for actual accreditation rather than falling prey to the enamouring and bamboozling advertisements by various brands.