New Delhi: Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda has submitted a proposal to the Modi government for the “treatment and prevention” of Covid-19 using medicinal herbs along with allopathic medicine hydroxychloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug.
The proposal, prepared by Haridwar-based Patanjali Research Institute (PRI) that functions under the Patanjali Ayurveda, stated that phytochemicals in ashwagandha, giloy and tulsi have the potential to fight Covid-19.
Phytochemicals are chemicals produced by plants.
An official from the Ministry of AYUSH told ThePrint the proposal has been submitted this week.
In a separate move, the company has submitted a research paper for peer review to a medical journal, Virology, which stated that ashwagandha herb stops the entry of the highly infectious novel coronavirus into human body.
The pre-print version of the research, which was led by Patanjali Ayurveda CEO Acharya Balkrishna, is available on website Research Square.
Pre-print versions are preliminary reports that have not undergone peer-review, meaning they should not be considered conclusive.
“Our data, for the first time, show that natural phytochemicals could well be the viable options for controlling Covid-19 entry into host cells, and ‘ashwagandha’ may be the first choice of herbs in these directions to curb the Covid-19 infection,” stated the research.
‘100 scientists working to find cure’
Balkrishna told ThePrint for the last two months, a team of 100 scientists has been working to find a cure for Covid-19.
“These findings will be useful in prevention as well as for cure along with the allopathic treatment regimen,” he said.
“Like China has used the combination of traditional medicine and modern medicine, we have submitted a treatment protocol (to the government) using ayurveda, which can be used along with ICMR-prescribed allopathic treatment for treating Covid-19 patients,” Balkrishna added.
Patanjali proposal to government
The research proposal submitted to the government stated: “To combat Covid-19 virus with ayurveda, we have screened close to 1,000 phytochemicals from more than 100 medicinal plants.”
Titled ‘Indian Traditional Ayurvedic Treatment Regime For Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19’, the 29-page proposal accessed by ThePrint further stated: “We looked for the binding affinities of phytochemicals to Covid-19 essential proteins and host protein interactions. We have discovered that natural phytochemicals in ashwagandha, giloy and tulsi indeed have potential to combat Covid-19 and its pathogenicity.
“The proposed treatment regimen is designed to add efficacy and potency of ayurvedic medicines in treating Covid-19 infection in combination with ICMR-approved hydroxychloroquine,” it added.
Balkrishna told ThePrint: “This regimen is meticulously designed with clinical relevance for the ayurvedic intervention therapy on war-footing to cope with Covid-19 infections.”
‘Ashwagandha’ prevents coronavirus
The virus, SARS-CoV-2, has been shown to engage the host cells in the human body called ACE2 through its spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD), according to the research submitted to Virology.
The research stated the natural phytochemical from the medicinal herb withania somnifera or ashwagandha has distinct effects on the binding of virus within the human body.
Ashwagandha, which is known as a “master” herb in ayurvedic medicine, is an evergreen shrub that grows in India. Its roots and orange-red fruit is used in the preparation of several herbal medicines.
“We have developed a strategy that may be utilised to block or weaken the viral infections like Covid-19, via disruption of the electrostatic interaction of the interacting viral protein with the ACE2 receptor,” the research said.
In this regard, phytochemicals present in Indian medicinal herb ashwagandha were screened by molecular docking — a scientific method that predicts the preferred orientation of one molecule to a second.
“This study highlights the importance of natural origin phytochemicals in controlling Covid-19 entry into host cells, and provides an attractive and alternative means for the management of Covid-19 infection,” according to the research.
“Withania somnifera or ashwagandha could well be the first choice of medicinal herbs in these direction to control the Covid-19 infectivity,” it said.