New Delhi: The Madras High Court has rebuked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for not promoting the benefits of Siddha medicine to treat Covid-19, and giving it recognition as a viable alternative system of medicine with no side-effects.
The court said “vested interests” are acting against the development of Siddha.
Siddha is an ancient Indian traditional treatment system prevalent in south India. The Union Ministry of Ayush regulates training in Siddha medicine and other traditional practices.
“The apathetic attitude exhibited by the Government is not going to help the Siddha Doctors or the Government or the public in general,” said a two-judge bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and V.M. Vilumani in an order passed on 9 July.
The court was hearing a habeas plea against the detention of a Siddha medical practitioner, who claimed he had prepared a medicine to cure Covid-19. Instead of deciding the petitioner’s plea, the court chose to discuss the status of Siddha system of medicine.
The court was particularly critical of the English media for not giving credit to Siddha doctors who have independently and successfully “cured” Covid patients in the state. But the Tamil media reported the same promptly, the judges said.
The court framed 14 questions for the Ayush ministry and Tamil Nadu on the steps that have been taken to encourage various Indian systems of medicine. It also sought to know if a Siddha medicine has been tested for its efficacy to treat Covid.
‘Vested interests against development of Siddha medicine’
The Madras High Court observed that it was common knowledge that no allopathic medicine, rather no medicine, has been found for treating Covid.
Tamil Nadu received the flak for delaying the tests on a Siddha drug that was developed by a doctor about three months ago, when the Covid infection was still in the initial stages.
The bench said if the state had promptly analysed the medicine property and recommended the same to Ayush ministry, a new Sidha medicine would have been documented for Covid treatment by now.
“…the Siddha Doctor, who developed/produced it and the Siddha medicine would have been celebrated throughout India and the nation would have got a cure for Covid 19 pandemic,” said the court.
The medicine, a concoction of 66 herbs, was analysed by the state but only after another bench of the HC ordered it do so, on a petition filed by the doctor who developed it, the judges said.
A subsequent statement issued by the TN government acknowledged the medicine had anti-viral properties. It is now with the Ayush Department for analysis and efficacy, the court noted.
The instance cited was just a “tip of an iceberg,” the court said, adding that many Siddha doctors had produced medicines for Covid and other illnesses. However, they are all with the government for approvals.
“It seems vested interests are acting against development of Siddha and that is the reason why the Siddha medicines are not properly promoted and published in the media,” the bench said.
“…when someone comes forward with a remedy for the said disease, it is the bounden duty of the State Government to analyse the medicine to find out whether it has got anti-viral properties to fight the virus,” the bench said.
‘Find out if Siddha can play a role in curing Covid’
As it impleaded the Ayush ministry and Tamil Nadu government in the matter, the Madras High Court bench said they must come out with a statement on whether Siddha medicines play a vital role in helping Covid patients recover. Both were also directed to place before the court the treatment being given to the patients in Tamil Nadu.
“It is said that in all the hospitals, including private ones, only “kabasura kudineer” is given to Covid patients apart from immunity boosting medicines like vitamin C and zinc tablets and paracetamol and antibiotics, in case of fever,” the court said.
It also asked the Ayush ministry and Tamil Nadu to furnish details on how many Siddha doctors have so far given samples for analysis; how many medicines have been tested; how many of them were found with anti-viral properties; drugs that were approved; and whether the ministry has sent report regarding efficacy of any drug.
Apart from seeking specific details on Covid cure, the bench also sought to know the allocation of funds made for development of Siddha and research in the last 10 years by the state government.
The Ayush ministry also has to disclose details of allotment of funds made by it to various Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Homeopathy.
The ministry has to answer on 23 July, when the court will next hear the case.
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