New Delhi: The Ministry of AYUSH has once again reiterated the use of alternative medicines such as homoeopathy and ayurveda to ward off coronavirus, and also recommended sipping water boiled with tulsi, ginger and turmeric to fight the infection.
The ministry had advised the use of homeopathy for the prevention of COVID-19 infection and “symptomatic management” using Unani medicines in an advisory issued in January this year also. The advisory courted controversy and received a lot of criticism.
The latest advisory was sent to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories on 6 March.
This time, however, the ministry has attached a separate annexure with the advisory, which contains supporting evidence in the form of 33 research studies.
“These interventions from different AYUSH systems of medicines are supported with evidence for promotion of immunity and help in improving the respiratory symptoms in similar diseases,” wrote Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, in the letter.
“In this regard, a separate list of references is also enclosed in annexure II for your ready reference.”
The advisory, accessed by ThePrint, suggested the consumption of “Arsenicum album 30” and stated that “Arsenic album is a common prescription in the cases of respiratory infections in day to day practice”.
Arsenicum album 30 is a homeopathy pill.
The old advisory had also recommended a course of Arsenicum album 30.
The Ministry of AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy.
Sip boiled water with tulsi, ginger, turmeric
Apart from medicines, the new advisory suggested frequent sipping of water boiled with tulsi leaves, crushed ginger and turmeric.
“Appropriate rest and timely sleep are advisable. The practice of yogasana and pranayama under the guidance of qualified yoga instructors is recommended,” it said.
In the letter, Kotecha wrote, “Even though there is no panic response warranted, AYUSH being one of the important ministry equipped for providing appropriate response to the circumstances that arose due to this public health challenge, it is worthwhile to associate with stakeholders in eliciting AYUSH based public health response considering the strength and evidences of these systems.
“In the past also, interventions under AYUSH systems had been varyingly used for making an effective public health response in similar situations faced in many states, union territories.”
The four-page long 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.
“The preventive aspect of homoeopathy is well-known, and historically, homoeopathy has reportedly been used for prevention during the epidemics of cholera, spanish influenza, yellow fever, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid etc,” the letter stated.
It suggests the use of ayurveda medicine “Samshamani Vati” twice a day with warm water.
Under siddha, it advises “Nilavembu Kudineer decoction” twice a day and in Unani, it suggests preparation of “decoction 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 letter stated.