Codifying Traditional Medicine Terminology

Most doctors practicing traditional Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani or Siddha follow their own style for naming diseases and treatments. This makes it difficult for patients to consult other doctors for follow-up care. The Ministry of Ayush, with assistance from the WHO, is working on codifying the terminology related to diseases and treatments in these traditional systems to address this issue.


  • Standardized terminology will enable doctors to follow the same pattern in writing prescriptions. This will allow patients to provide complete information to new doctors if they switch.
  • It will also benefit research work, as scientists globally can access full details on diseases, medications and their effects.
  • As research expands and scientists collaborate, these traditional medicine systems can yield improved results and gain more acceptance.

Adoption by Doctors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed hope during his Mann Ki Baat address that doctors practicing Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha will soon adopt the new codified system for naming diseases and treatments. This will lead to the benefits outlined above.

WHO Classification

Data and terminology related to diseases in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine have already been included in the WHO’s ICD-11 classification. This has opened up possibilities for:

  • Large-scale evidence generation to demonstrate effectiveness of traditional Indian medicine
  • Increased credibility and global acceptance of these traditional systems
  • Medical insurance coverage and portability for Ayush treatments
  • Growth of medical value travel for Ayush therapies

Work in Progress

The groundwork for standardizing traditional medicine terminology was initiated in 2017 during an Ayurveda Day celebration. The NAMASTE portal was launched by PM Modi to begin codifying Ayush diseases and treatments with participation of experts. The work is still in progress but expected to pick up pace soon.



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