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COVID-19: Ayurvedic Herbs Such As Aswagandha To Be Tested For Treating Coronavirus Infection

In the second week of April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed the citizens to follow the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy).

The guidelines were encompassed of ways to improve one's immunity and improve your body's strength to fight off against COVID-19 [1]. The guidelines from the Ministry Of AYUSH are rooted in Ayurveda, where they promote the use of natural herbs and plants to build a strong immune system.

According to recent reports, the Indian government is planning to conduct clinical trials on three ayurvedic herbs and one medicine. The trials will be done not only to find a cure but also to validate the efficacy of traditional medicines and collect scientific evidence regarding the same.

Immunity Boosting Tips For Indians By Ministry Of AYUSH


Ashwagandha, Guduchi And Mulethi To Be Tested

The spokesperson for the health body said that "the candidates chosen for trials are three popular ayurvedic herbs - ashwagandha, Guduchi, mulethi and an ayurvedic anti-malaria medicine AYUSH-64. These drugs will be studied for their preventive properties against Covid-19 infections" [2].

The medicine, AYUSH-64 is developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and is added to the list of possible vaccine for COVID-19 after hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, showed efficacy in treating the coronavirus infection [3].

The Ministry of AYUSH plans to explore and understand the preventive properties of the three herbs and one medicine. The herbs that are chosen for the study, such as ashwagandha is known for its anti-tumour, anti-stress, anti-ageing, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties [4][5].

Guduchi is used in Ayurveda for the treatment of various infections, fevers, urinary tract disorders, digestive disorders as well as water-borne diseases like jaundice [6]. Mulethi is proven to possess anti-diabetic properties, which helps in reversing and controlling the high sugar level in the blood [7]. In addition to that, this herb is also a good source of antioxidants, thereby help in preventing the onset of various diseases [8]. And AYUSH-64, developed by an autonomous body of AYUSH is said to treat malaria without side effects [9].


Herbs And Medicines To Be Administered To Asymptomatic People

The report also stated that the four candidates selected for the study will be administered to asymptomatic people who are quarantined or isolated, and also to frontline healthcare workers.

The trial will be held for 15 days in two categories - standalone and add on. In the standalone measure, the candidates will only consume the ayurvedic pills (herbs) and in the add on method, the candidates will have allopathic drugs combined with the ayurvedic pills [10].

It was added that "The Ministry of AYUSH has also undertaken consultation with the Drug Controller General of India (of the) Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, the primary body which approves clinical trials in India" [11].


A Need To Generate Supportive Evidence For Ayurveda, Unani & Siddha Medicine

One of the other primary aims of the clinical trials will be to develop scientific evidence on the use of any Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha or Homeopathy formulation on prevention and management of COVID-19, where the generated data will be scientifically valid and credible. This is due to the repeated criticism faced by the Ministry of AYUSH for promoting the use of pseudoscientific medicine as alternative medicine [12][13].

The Ministry of AYUSH has notified scientists and researchers to undertake research on COVID19 through Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy, so as to generate solid evidence in the effectiveness of these mesures in the prevention and management of COVID-19.


On A Final Note…

The coronavirus diseases currently have no known cure, treatment or vaccine. With a surge in proposals to the Ministry of AYUSH on possible treatments for COVID-19, it is essential to have scientific evidence on the use of any Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha or Homeopathy formulation.

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