While acknowledgment of the health toll of the 9/11 rescue workers and volunteers has been slow in coming, a Mumbai-based ayurveda doctor has been quietly providing herbal treatments to hundreds of victims affected by the toxic air on the day of the terror attacks for the past six years.
The unsung hero is Pankaj Naram, who runs Ayushakti Ayurved Health Centre in Malad in Mumbai and frequently visits New York as part of his US practice.
Benefiting from his treatment are 500 Ground Zero workers and volunteers including around 400 fire-fighters affected by prolonged exposure to toxicity in the aftermath of the collapse of World Trade Centre towers Sep 11, 2001.
Naram has devised four ayurvedic formulas specifically to treat respiratory problems and symptoms of metal toxicity. Naram, who is visiting New York mid-October, says he has distributed the formulas in New York through Serving Those Who Serve, Inc (STWS). He was first approached to help treat the sufferers within weeks of the 9/11 tragedy by an STWS cofounder.
STWS was formed as a non-profit body to provide Naram's herbal package free of charge to the rescue and recovery workers and volunteers.
STWS Executive Director Jose Mestre told IANS: "The people on our programme report amazing results including better respiratory function, ability to sleep, energy, focus, memory and relief from anxiety.
Dr. Naram's herbal formulas clear up the lungs, flush the toxins naturally and improve the compromised immune system." The doctor's detox and immune-boosting herbs are listed as dietary supplements by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be safely integrated with a participant's current Western medicine protocol.
Mestre points out that in a survey by Jim Dahl, a leading medical researcher of New York, STWS programme participants reported that Naram's herbs were 32 percent more effective than other treatment protocols they had tried.
Dahl's paper based on the survey has been accepted for publication in 'Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine', a reputed US journal.
STWS has also introduced in their programme meditation and breathwork inspired by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living as well as energy healing. Some of those who volunteer for STWS are 9/11 workers or volunteers.
STWS invites all those affected by exposure to Ground Zero to participate, free of charge, in the programme. Residents who feel at risk due to their proximity to the sites can also receive Naram's herbs at-cost.
Mestre says that while many medical experts and politicians have publicly acknowledged the persisting debilitating health effects of those exposed to 9/11's environmental toxicity, city authorities are reluctant to do so. This is mainly because of the pending class action suit against the city filed by couple of thousand of victims.
Naram is particularly known for his pulse diagnosis expertise. When in the US, he runs through at least 100 patients in a single day, feeling their pulse and prescribing medicines.