New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again advised the use of alternative medicine systems such as homoeopathy and ayurveda to ward off coronavirus. In his address to the nation Tuesday, Modi asked people to follow an advisory issued by the Ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) last month, which suggests a range of home remedies to boost immunity.
The advisory, first reported by ThePrint 18 March, was addressed to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories. It was sent 6 March.
The advice offered includes frequently sipping water boiled with tulsi leaves, crushed ginger and turmeric (haldi), timely sleep, eating freshly cooked food, and practising yoga and pranayama under the guidance of qualified instructors.
It also promotes the consumption of honey with a pinch of pepper powder for curing cough, and advises people to avoid heavy food items.
The decoctions advised
The four-page advisory, divided under four heads — prevention, symptom management of COVID-like illness, add-on interventions to the conventional care and general preventive measures — stresses the importance of ayurveda, homeopathy, unani and siddha, four schools of alternative medicine.
It suggests the use of “Samshamani Vati”, an ayurvedic remedy made of giloy that is believed to cure all types of fevers, weakness and anaemia, twice a day with warm water.
Under siddha, it advises the “Nilavembu Kudineer decoction” — a combination of nine herbs used to treat fevers caused by viral infections, malaria, chikungunya, among others — twice a day. The unani remedy recommended is a decoction to be made “by boiling Behidana, Unnab, Sapistan in water”.
“The drugs used in the preparation of this decoction have been reported to have antioxidant activity, immuno-modulatory, antiallergic, smooth muscle relaxant activity and anti-influenza activity. This decoction may be taken twice a day for 14 days,” the advisory states.
For homoeopathy, it suggests the consumption of “Arsenicum album 30”, adding that it is a common prescription in the cases of respiratory infections in day-to-day practice”.
The Modi government came in for much criticism in January when the Ayush Ministry recommended homoeopathy and unani medicines for the prevention of Covid-19 infection and “symptomatic management”. The main criticism was that the efficacy of these medicine systems is yet to be conclusively proved.
As a result, the fresh advisory contains an annexure listing “supporting evidence” in the form of 33 research studies.
On 31 March, the ministry issued a press release with another advisory on boosting immunity through ayurveda. It urged the consumption of chyavanprash in the morning, and the consumption of herbal tea or a decoction made from tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger and raisin once or twice a day. It also advised people to drink “golden milk” — turmeric powder mixed into 150 ml hot milk — once or twice a day.
This report has been updated with additional information