Alternative medicine

Can alternative medicine systems like Ayurveda be harnessed to fight Covid-19?

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Even though vaccination against Covid-19 is in full swing, the pandemic continues to affect a huge population, severely affecting the economic and social fabric of the country. Many recommend using Ayurveda, India’s ancient alternative medical system. A Hindustan Times report from last December draws attention to the praise lavished on Ayurveda by the Delhi government’s health minister, Satyendar Jain, in his tweet. “Congratulations to Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan for successfully curing 2000 Covid patients with pure Ayurvedic treatment. It is the 1st Ayurvedic hospital in India that has treated Covid patients aged from 1 month to 106 years. I applaud the team and staff.”

Case-control study

Sansthan patients were treated with a mixture of three herbs, haldi milk and amla churan for vitamin D, called Nagaradhi Kwath. A case-control study of 1,000 patients was performed in which half received the ingredients while the other half did not.

Speaking about the study, Professor Vidula Gujjarwar, Principal Director of Sansthan said, “We have not yet analyzed the results of the study but there has been an improvement in the condition of the patients. We are not saying that these herbs cure Covid-19, but it helps relieve symptoms.”

The Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has released a national clinical management protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for the management of Covid-19. Stating that the pandemic had created a global health crisis, he says that “Ayurveda and yoga can certainly play a pivotal role in increasing the preventive measures provided for in the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (M0HFW) “Current understanding of Covid-19 indicates that good immune status is critical to preventing and protecting against disease progression.”

The document in its general and physical measures specifies that in addition to physical distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene, wearing a mask, you must gargle with warm water with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Additionally, water boiled with Triphala (dried fruits of Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, Terminala bellerica) or Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can also be used for gargling.

He then suggests the nasal application of medicated or regular oil (sesame or coconut) or the application of cow’s ghee once or twice a day, especially before going out and after returning home.

It is also advisable to inhale steam with Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) or Pudina (Mentha spicata) or eucalyptus oil once a day.

Other suggestions include six to eight hours of sleep and moderate exercise and yoga protocol.

In terms of dietary measures, the protocol suggests the use of hot water or boiled water with herbs like ginger (Zingiber officinale) or coriander (Coriandrum sativum) or basil (Ocimum sanctum/Ocimum basiicum), or cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum) etc., for consumption. Food should be fresh, hot and balanced. Hot milk (150ml) with half a teaspoon of haldi (turmeric longa) is suggested once a night which can be avoided in case of indigestion while Ayush kadha (hot infusion or decoction) should be consumed once a day.

The protocol document also offers specific measures/symptom management that define clinical severity, medications, doses, and schedules. The management of mild cases of Covid-19 is mentioned by listing the symptoms, formulation and dose. All of this, of course, is subject to the doctor’s discretion.

Paper in NCBI

There is an interesting article “Outcomes of Ayurvedic care in a Covid-19 patient with hypoxia – A Case Report” on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. It’s part of the US National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. Written by Jyoti Anand Joshi and Rammanohar Puthiyedath, it reports the results of an Ayurvedic intervention in a COVID-19 patient with severe hypoxia requiring supportive oxygen therapy.

The case involved a 26-year-old housewife who complained of severe shortness of breath as everyone she came into contact with on her trip from Panvel to Alibaug was found to have tested positive. to Covid-19. Opting for Ayurvedic treatment on the second day of her hospitalization, she was given medication.

The report states: “Sadharaacura” was discontinued to prevent it from inducing rukata (dryness) after seven days when the shortness of breath was completely relieved. Sukmatriphala was discontinued after four days when the patient was taken off oxygen support and there was no indication of lung infection like pneumonia which is a known complication of Covid-19. Sagangapaniyam along with Guduci, along with Kanakasavam and Indukantam Kasayam were pursued to the point of discharge from hospital to support immunity, ignite digestive fire, and maintain patent pranavahasrotas (airways). After discharge, the patient was advised to drink guducipaniyam (medicated water with Tinospora cordifolia stem).”

Discharged on the 11th day, the patient repeated after five days the RT PCR test for Covid-19, which was negative.

Last year, there was a report in Zee News that said the clinical trial conducted in three hospitals with the combined treatment of an Ayurvedic remedy called “Immunofree” by Corival Life Sciences, and a nutraceutical called “Reginmune by Biogetica had shown better results than conventional government-approved drugs for the treatment of coronaviruses.

Approved by the Clinical Trials Registry of India (CTRI), the trial was conducted on moderately positive Covid-19 patients at Government Medical Hospital, Srikakulam Andhra Pradesh, Parul Sevashram Hospital, Vadodara, Gujarat and Lokmanya Hospital Pune, Maharashtra .

With the pandemic threatening to last longer, it is felt that other systems of medicine should be explored to curb its spread to help the nation and its people get back on track faster.