What makes it possible for ayurvedic pharmaceutical objects to come into being? To answer this question, this paper takes an ontological route in line with local epistemologies, in which the objectness of the thing is itself taken as quite porous and susceptible to circumstances. This approach has much in common with science and technology studies: objects acquire meaning in a specific context, itself embedded in a relational network at a specific point in time and space. Here too, objects are unstable, transient and circumstantial. This has serious consequences since the connections around objects question, even destabilise, the very idea of objectivity. This article examines what is omitted in the discussions and practices on objectivity in technologically driven ayurvedic drug discovery and manufacturing. It discusses innovation processes within and beyond the lab and the way in which pharmaceutical objects absorb ideas, epistemologies, materials, or even policies. These considerations will provide a useful methodological framework to appreciate the kind of uncertainties and heterodoxies that characterise these therapeutic products.
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In the same way, Smith and Wujastyk2008, pp. 2–4, write about the emergence of various lineages in global Ayurveda, and Pordié 2008b, pp. 4–5, underscores the plurality of forms in contemporary Tibetan medicine.