The Scientist Who Narrated A New Chapter : DR C.K ATAL

Former Director IIM Jammu.

Dr C.K. Atal ( 1928- )
Former Director IIM Jammu.

Dr C.K. Atal was born in Lahore prepartition India. As a college student, he won an award for best plant collection which inspired him to explore the fascinating world of plants. His enthusiasm lead him to become one of the foremost internationally reputed multidisciplinary Pharmacognosist of modern times (Study of Medicinal Plants). He was appointed as chairman,Biosciences at medical center, Jesuit Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. In 1971, He was appointed as the director of IIIM, Jammu (RRL Jammu). His work received several personal and institutional awards like FICCI award given by President of India for rural development.

He was appointed as Chief technical adviser in 1985 to UN based at South East Asia (Vietnam) and designated chemical technologist ( UN head office Geneva, Austria). He has been a consultant to major world bodies globally.


Dr Atal came across a book on traditional Ayurvedic medicines complied by a research institute of India. He observed that 75% of the formulations used in treating several diseases contained either Trikatu or else one of the ingredients of Trikatu i.e Piper longum (Black Pepper). This intrigued him regarding the use of Trikatu/ Piper longum in so many formulations for various diseases. “How could this be a Panacea for all illnesses?” he reasoned.

Black Pepper (Piper longum)

Black Pepper (Piper longum)

This lead him to think about other mechanism of action of Trikatu, and one of them was the possibility of increasing the effectiveness of formulations in which it was incorporated. Working on this hypothesis he came across a startling discovery. His research team found that Piper longum increased the blood levels of many drugs with which it was combined (Bio availability). Subsequently the active ingredient in Piper longum which increased the blood levels of other drugs was found to be Piperine. These came to be called ‘Bioavailability enhancers’ and later on were renamed ‘Bioenhancers’. This research lead to the discovery of the concept of  ‘Bioenhancers’ for the first time in the world and established Piperine as the world’s first ‘Bioenhancer’ in 1979.

“I believe that these findings will open a new chapter for both research and applications of these agents in the pharmaceutical industry. This discovery is going to benefit dose economy, effectiveness, and safety profile of many drugs which will be a great benefit for the poor and suffering.”



One thought on “The Scientist Who Narrated A New Chapter : DR C.K ATAL

  1. Trikatu is a Sanskrit word meaning three spices. It is the main stimulant compound used by Ayurvedic doctors. Containing fruits of black pepper (piper Nigrum), Indian long pepper (piper Longum) and the rhizomes of ginger (Zingiber Officinalis), it is a common combination used to stimulate and maintain the digestive and respiratory systems. This it does by reducing Kapha (water and earth) and increasing pitta (fire) through the rejuvenation of low Agni (fire) and the burning away of Ama (toxins). It is strongly heating and removes cold, congestion, reviving weak organic functions. Also an aphrodisiac and strengthens reproductive functions, warming, and energizing the reproductive organs.

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