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Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips: The Hepatologist On A Mission To Debunk Ayurveda Myths

Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora. 20

In a time when Ayurveda is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, challenging its principles can be an arduous task. Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips, a renowned hepatologist and clinician-scientist from Kerala, whose unwavering commitment to debunking the myths surrounding Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha, and Unani has made him a prominent figure in the medical landscape. 

Doctor lifts lid on dark side of India's 'wellness', traditional medicine  sector |

Source: South China Morning Post

For the past five years, Dr. Abby Philips has been at the forefront of treating patients facing complications stemming from alternative medicine use. Leveraging his Twitter handle, @theliverdr, he has waged a relentless war against pseudoscientific treatments, misleading claims, and unproven remedies.

Challenging the Status Quo:

Dr. Abby Philips embarked on his battle against Ayurveda in 2017 when a group of teetotalers presented symptoms of alcohol-induced liver failure. Surprisingly, their condition was attributed to Ayurvedic pills. This revelation became a turning point in his career, motivating him to educate the masses about the potential dangers of pseudoscientific medicine.

Over the years, Dr. Philips has become the go-to expert for Ayush-related liver injuries in Kerala and an influential voice on social media. His arsenal includes scientific research, case studies, and a dash of dry humor, all channeled through his Twitter persona, “The Liver Doc.” However, the battle against pseudoscience, particularly in India, presents unique challenges. Ayurveda and other alternative practices are deeply entwined with religion, culture, and politics, making it a complex issue to address.

Politics and Push for Ayurveda:

The political push for Ayurveda gained momentum in 2014, culminating in the formation of the Ministry of Ayush. Substantial funds were allocated for the development of alternative medicines, which Abby’s research suggests may cause liver injuries. Recently, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the All-India Institute of Ayurveda in Goa, further highlighting the government’s commitment to these practices.

Despite warnings from senior colleagues about potential dangers from the Ayush lobby and the government, Dr. Abby Philips remains unwavering in his mission. He has faced threats, legal notices, and attempts to discredit his work. To navigate these challenges, he maintains a lawyer on speed-dial and leads the Mission for Ethics and Science in Healthcare (MESH), a collective dedicated to advocating for scientific integrity.

Himalaya acting like coward': The Liver Doctor on 'X' account withheld - India  Today

Facing Challenges and Criticism:

Dr. Philips’ work has not been without its critics. Some accuse him of pursuing his mission for publicity or question his credentials in Ayurveda. However, supporters, including fellow scientists, vouch for the rigor of his research and his commitment to patient well-being. Dr. Libin Abraham, a scientist in a Canadian biotech startup, attests to the extensive and rigorous nature of Abby’s work.

While critics argue that liver diseases can stem from various sources, Dr. Philips is diligent in ruling out other possibilities before diagnosing an Ayush-related injury. He firmly believes in his right, as a physician-scientist, to address and challenge quackery, asserting that it impacts patient outcomes.

Patient Testimonials:

Dr. Abby Philips’ patients stand as a testament to his commitment to evidence-based medicine. Sunitha Antony, who experienced worsened symptoms due to Ayurvedic pills, describes him as a “life-saver.” Similarly, Anilkumar PD, given only three months to live before consulting Dr. Philips, praises him as a divine intervention in his life.

TheLiverDoc on X: "1/ Dr.Thakur, this is a huge issue. Big industry.  Powerful lobby. They crush critique wit money power. I hav experienced it  first hand. Here is my story. Last year

Balancing Life:

Beyond his rigorous advocacy, Dr. Abby Philips finds solace in science, gaming, and his love for dogs. He proudly identifies as a physician-scientist, adhering to a scientific approach to patient care. His diverse interests, from gaming setups adorned with pop-culture collectibles to his extensive family of dogs, provide him with an escape from the relentless battle against pseudoscience.

A New Chapter:

As Dr. Abby Philips continues to receive numerous project offers and treats a steady stream of patients, he’s embarked on a new endeavor—a book deal aimed at further disseminating his mission. While he may have stepped away from lengthy Twitter threads, his commitment to debunking Ayurveda myths remains as strong as ever.

In a world where science contends with deeply rooted traditions, Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips stands as a beacon of evidence-based medicine, relentlessly challenging the status quo and inspiring others to prioritize scientific integrity in healthcare.


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