India's ancient holistic health therapy Ayurveda is undergoing a worldwide revival. Aided by growing interest in alternative health practices and demand for cheaper medicine, the therapy stands to win a bigger share of the US$60 billion in global sales of traditional medicine. Indian experts claim the 5,000 year-old system used to treat such ailments as arthritis and diabetes through aromatic oil massage, special diets and herbs will become as popular as yoga. 'Ayurveda and yoga are two wheels on the same cart,' said Ramachandra Rao, project director at Jiva, a New Delhi-based company specialising in Ayurvedic research. 'Yoga was meant for the mind and Ayurveda for the body. Once clinical trials are done and people are convinced of its benefits, then it will spread all over the world.' The World Health Organisation has found more than half the developed world has tried traditional medicines at least once and the numbers are growing. But that popularity could depend on how well the fledgling industry weathers a recent scandal over remedies on sale in the United States. Harvard Medical School researchers have found some Ayurvedic medicines contain high levels of lead, mercury and arsenic. In 2002, a British research team reported similar findings. In India, which exports about US$300 million worth of Ayurveda products a year, the claims were met with scepticism. Technology Minister Kapil Sibal dismissed the latest report as 'motivated', with The Times of India dubbing it 'a conspiracy by big pharma companies'. Taradatt, India's joint secretary for health with responsibility for Ayurveda, criticised what he saw as opposition from multinational companies to India's traditional medicine industry. 'I would say the impact of modern transnational pharmaceutical companies and the type of publicity, propaganda and tricks they play, has affected the popularity [of Ayurveda] adversely. 'Thirty years back, people in the west did not know what yoga was, and today it is practised in almost every home.'