New Delhi: The Ministry of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, sowa rigpa and homoeopathy) has directed states and union territories to start the commercial production of a herbal decoction that it claims boosts immunity against Covid-19.
The directive comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw his weight behind a ministry advisory urging the use of alternative medicines to strengthen immunity amid the pandemic.
“Considering the importance of immunity boosting measures in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Ministry of AYUSH intends to promote the use of following ready-made Ayush formulation in the interest of health promotion of the masses, which has been endorsed by the honourable Prime Minister during his address to the nation on the Constitution Day, 14th April, 2020,” the ministry says in a letter dated 24 April that has been sent to states and union territories.
The letter, which has been accessed by ThePrint, outlines the ingredients of the decoction thus: Basil (tulsi) leaves, cinnamon bark, sunthi (Zingiber officinale) and krishna marich (Piper nigrum).
A decoction is a concentrated liquid, which is prepared by heating or boiling a substance. It is generally a herbal medicinal preparation. The other names the ministry has used for the decoction in the letter are ‘kwath’, ‘kudineer’ or ‘joshanda’.
‘Decoction can be sold as teabags, tablets’
The letter, which is titled “Ayush health promotion product for commercial manufacturing by Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani drug manufacturers” shares the complete recipe of the decoction that is to be manufactured.
The letter advises manufacturers to “dry the ingredients and make a powder and put them in sachets or tea bags each of 3 grams of powder and sell to public to boost immunity”.
It suggests that the preparation can also be manufactured as tablets, which can be “consumed like tea or hot drink by dissolving in 150 ml of boiled water, once or twice daily”.
“The formulation may be manufactured and sold in generic name as ‘Ayush Kwath’ or ‘Ayush Kudineer’ or ‘Ayush Joshanda’,” the letter adds.
The ministry also directs the AYUSH Licensing Authorities to consider granting approval to interested, licensed ASU (ayurveda, siddha, unani) drug manufacturers for the production of this herbal medicine, in accordance with the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
PM Modi’s immunity advice
On 14 April, in an address to the nation, PM Modi had recommended following AYUSH Ministry’s guidelines that suggest a range of home remedies to boost immunity.
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.
The ministry has also urged the consumption of ‘chyavanprash’ in the morning, and a “herbal tea” or 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.
The government had earlier recommended some siddha treatments as well, especially the “Nilavembu Kudineer decoction” — a combination of nine herbs used to treat fevers caused by viral infections, malaria, chikungunya, among others — twice a day. A decoction made “by boiling Behidana, Unnab, Sapistan in water” was the unani remedy advised.