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Can alternative therapies help us in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the recently held HealthSite Summit 2020, a panel of distinguished experts discussed in detail the role of alternative therapies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to know how immune-boosting Kadha and homeopathic medicine Arsenicum album 30 can actually help prevent coronavirus.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : August 13, 2020 9:45 AM IST

Currently, there is no vaccine or drug available to prevent or cure the coronavirus infection. So, experts have been emphasising on the importance of building up immunity so that our body is capable to fight off the virus. While scientists around the world are racing against time to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, India is trying to find a solution from the nature. Research is being done to see if Ayurveda -an ancient healing therapy that is known to boost immunity - can help in this fight against COVID-19. The AYUSH Ministry has also issued guidelines on the use and benefits of Ayurveda to build immunity and combat diseases. Similarly, there are other holistic healing therapies that may be able to help us rev up our immune cells against the novel coronavirus.

The recently held HealthSite Summit 2020 discussed in detail the role of alternative therapies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. During one of the sessions, experts from the field of integrative medicine, Ayurvedaand holistic healing treatment spoke about best ways to boost immunity naturally, among otherareas of concern. Watch the session here -

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The expert panel that addressed these issues included Dr.Issac Mathai, Chairman, Managing and Medical Director, Soukya International, Bengaluru, Dr.Pratap Chauhan, Founding Director of Jiva Ayurveda, and Mr. Arvind Varchaswi, Managing Director of Sri Sri Tattva. Here are vignettes from the webinar.

Role of Ayurveda in the treatment of COVID-19

Ayurveda is a medicinal science that is more than 5000 years old but it's still extremely relevant today. Mr. Arvind Varchaswi says that Ayurveda is the only medicinal science that attends to both physical and mental wellbeing.

"Since there is no vaccine yet, the only way to ensure that we are COVID-free is to keep our immunity strong. Sri Sri Tattva, over the last couple of years, has really championed the cause of building immunity. Even in Covid-19, we ensured that our immunity boosting kits are put up for clinical trials. In fact, we have multiple clinical trials going across, from our Shakti Drops to AmruthImmuno Modulator tablets. So, there is a whole list of clinical trials that Sri Sri Tattva is engaged at to ensure that we educate the world that Ayurveda, even in today's time, is extremely relevant and is a medical science," says Mr. Varchaswi.

"There are a lot of herbs in Ayurveda that has been researched over the years that would actually be a customised medicine for you. Ayurveda can now tell you what medicine is good for your body type as well as in which season. That's the level Ayurveda has gone across today. There are also certain medicines which are fundamental to ensure that immunity can be kept up. These are the products that Sri Sri Tattva has already been leading and these medicines are now available in 54 countries. Apart from India, many other countries have recognised the relevance of Ayurveda in this tough time and there are a huge number of people across the globe wanting to make Ayurveda as part of their life," he added.

He admitted that Sri Sri Tattva had to ramp up production of its immune boosting products post the COVID-19 pandemic as there was more demand and interest for these products not just in India but internationally. This is because people are realizing the importance of keeping up the immune system and making certain lifestyle changes such as eating the right foods at the right time, which is the key to keeping diseases at bay. Sri Sri Tattva has also pioneered the aspect of Dinacharya through its Ayurveda doctors across the globe. The organisation is also educating people to make them know what's good for their body type and what products they need to eat during a normal course of life to keep up their health and immunity.

Sri Sri Tattva is conducting multiple trials of its immune boosting products across India. Its Ayurvedic medicines have also been shortlisted by Frankfurt Biotechnology Innovation Center and research is ongoing in the US as well. Sri Sri Tattva's immune boosting combo Shakti Drops, TulasiArka, Amruth tablet, Turmeric Plus tablet and KabasuraKudineer tablets are over-the-counter medicines but Mr. Varchaswi recommends consulting a doctor for any ailment that you have.

Mr. Varchaswi also pointed out that India is championing in a holistic system of healthcare by combining Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda.

According to Dr. Pratap Chauhan, COVID-19 is a tridoshic disease involving all the three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. "But we are seeing amazing results in patients given Ayurvedic treatment. The results will soon be published in journal also. Besides, the AYUSH ministry is conducting many clinical trials to see the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicines against COVID-19. Hopefully, there will be some good news soon," he said.

Arsenicum album 30 for Coronavirus prevention: Does it work?

An advisory issued by the Ministry of AYUSH prescribes homeopathic medicine Arsenicum album 30 for Coronavirus prevention. Clinical trials are also being conducted in 11 states to see the efficacy of this medicine. According to Dr.Mathai, a strong immune system is the best defence against diseases. Therefore, the immune-boosting Arsenicum album has been distributed to millions of people across India. "Not just this medicine can help in preventing the COVID-19 infection, but it is also showing positive results in treating the COVID-19 patients," added the holistic physician.

Arsenicum album 30 can be taken as an over-the-counter drug. You can take four pills every morning for seven days. You can also consider taking it for another seven days in the second month if the COVID-19 infection continues to rise in your locality. You may also get it in liquid form and in that case one should take two drops every morning. For children, dilute it with one spoon of water.

Can boosting the immunity really help fight the coronavirus pandemic? Responding to this question, Dr. Mathai said, "Homeopathic, sidha and ayurvedic medicines have been traditionally proved to be effective in boosting the immune system, which will not only help fight COVID-19 but in any condition. The government of India and Ayush Ministry are actively promoting these alternative therapies and millions of people are using homeopathic, sidha and ayurvedic medicines in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country."

How to make immune-boosting Kadha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi encourages people to drink Kadha, an Ayurvedic drink, to help boost their immunity. Even the Ayush Ministry recommends it. But what is this drink and how does it help?

"Ayushkadha is a simple formula but very effective in booting the immune system. The ingredients include tulsi or holy basil, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon dalchini. Tulsi is very effective in fighting against respiratory infections and boosting immunity," said Dr. Chauhan.

To make one cup of kadha, you need four tulsi leaves, black pepper powder (grounded from two seeds), a small amount of crushed ginger and a pinch of cinnamon. Bring one cup of water to boil and add these ingredients into it. Let it boil until the liquid reduces to half. In case you prefer sweet, you can add some jiggery or raisins. If anybody experience heating, acidity or irritation, adding some fennel seeds to the concoction may help. Remember everybody has personalised immunity, so it's better to consult an ayurvedic doctor before taking any herbal concoction.

The basic principle of ayurveda is healing the body from inside instead of treating the condition. This principle applies to COVID -19 as well. Though COVID-19 is a new disease, pandemics or epidemics are not new to ayurveda. Dr. Chauhan elaborated, "When it comes to the core principle of how to deal with a pandemic, it has already been described in detail in ayurveda. How the pandemics are caused? What are the root causes of various types of pandemics? What are the protocols for preventing the communicable diseases? What kind of sanitization is needed and what types of disinfectants should be used? All these have been described in ayurveda years ago. As per ayurveda, the root cause of every disease is adharma, which means not following the basic principle of living such as not eating according to your body type."

Naturopathy, homeopathy, yoga, meditation and ayurveda these alternative therapies focus on improving immunity, detoxification and rejuvenation of the system. The experts agree that a combination of these therapies or holistic approach is the answer to the COVID-19 disease.

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