New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has sought proposals from alternative medicine practitioners for possible coronavirus treatment but all claims will be vetted by a team of scientists, AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik said. Speaking to ThePrint, he mentioned how some doctors told him Prince Charles who had tested positive for coronavirus was “treated by Ayurveda and homoeopathy”.
“The Prime Minister had recommended that the ministry should work towards scientific evidence-based solutions from the AYUSH system to keep a check on the spread of the pandemic,” Naik told ThePrint from Goa Wednesday. “We have set up a channel and are requesting all AYUSH practitioners, institutes, associations, to send their suggestions and
proposals that will be scrutinised by a group of scientists. This will help in fighting the coronavirus.”
Naik further said the ministry was concerned by unsupported claims being made by many that they could treat the coronavirus, adding strict action would be initiated against
those spreading such messages.
“There are reports that even Prince Charles who tested positive for coronavirus was treated by Ayurveda and homoeopathy. Some doctors have informed me about it though I don’t have proof for it. So, we need to support our technique with scientific claims so that it can be used widely,” he said.
Explaining how the ministry has already started taking the help of video conferencing and social media to reach out to AYUSH practitioners and involve them in putting an end to unsupported claims, Naik said it will be further strengthened in the coming few days.
The idea is to get these suggestions based purely on scientific explanations that could help restrain the spread of coronavirus, or to manage the disease, Naik added.
As of Thursday morning, India has 1,764 active Covid-19 cases.
‘Had asked PM to involve AYUSH system’
Naik said his ministry had requested the Prime Minister and the government to provide them an opportunity to use the AYUSH system (alternative medicine) to treat patients.
Naik said he also discussed with academia, the industry and his ministry officials on promoting AYUSH therapies in fighting Covid-19. “Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyalji was also present in the meeting, apart from doctors and representatives from the industry,” he added.
Asked about the circulars that the ministry had issued to combat coronavirus and later withdrawn them due to criticism, Naik said they had only clarified that the measures suggested by AYUSH were preventive in nature.
“The circulars were reissued with a bit of a clarification that whatever was suggested by the ministry to tackle coronavirus was preventive in nature,” the minister said. “As far as treatment is concerned, we are going to highlight such measures that can be proven scientifically and have already started work on them.”
The minister also said the AYUSH treatment can come handy in villages where people have been making use of Ayurveda for years.
On 31 March, the minister issued a statement recommending “self-care guidelines for preventive health measures and boosting immunity with special reference to respiratory health”. The ministry said these guidelines are “supported by Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications”.
The recommendations included daily practice of Yoga and meditation, and use of turmeric, cumin, Coriander and garlic in cooking for general good health, and consumption of Chyavanprash, herbal tea to boost immunity.