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Baba Ramdev claims giloy and ashwagandha can cure COVID-19: What's the truth?

Other than boosting your immunity, asahwagandha also helps you prevent diabetes, stress and thyroid disorders. @Shutterstock

Ashwagandha and giloy can boost your immunity no doubt. But experts caution that you must not take it as a cure for COVID-19, as Baba Ramdev claims.

India is seeing an alarming spike in COVID-19 positive cases. It has long surpassed Italy and is now the fifth worst affected country. Despite the best efforts of scientists across the world, no cure or vaccine is available yet. In view of this, the government is trying to come up with solutions to treat patients affected with this deadly pandemic. The Ministry of AYUSH has also come up with a list of ayurvedic formulations, including ashwagandha and giloy, that will be tried as an add-on therapy for COVID-19 infection. More recently, Baba Ramdev said that herbs like giloy and ashwagandha can offer very effective treatment of coronavirus. Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Research Institute (PRI) has, in fact, submitted a proposal to the Narendra Modi led government claiming that phytochemicals in herbs like ashwagandha, giloy and tulsi can offer protection against COVID-19. Going a step further, he has claimed that giloy is 100 per cent effective against this infection. However, there are no scientific studies to validate these claims.

But it is true that these two herbs do increase your immunity. Hence, they can reduce your risk of catching COVID-19. But experts caution that though you can use these herbs for their immunity boosting power, you must not take use them as cures for the deadly contagion.

Ashwagandha can block protein that fuels COVID-19

Recently, researchers from IIT- Delhi and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Japan found, in a collaborative study, that Ashwagandha may indeed be beneficial in fighting this new variant of corronavirus. They discovered that Ashwagandha has a natural compound called Withanone (Wi-N), which can block the activity of Mpro or Main protease a type of protein essential for the reproduction of the coronavirus.

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Ashwagadha and giloy can serve as shields not cure

With the Ministry of AYUSH and Baba Ramdev endorsing the two herbs for fighting COVID-19, many people are looking at it as a cure. But with no scientific evidence, it is best to take these claims with a grain of salt. But there is no arguing the fact that both ashwagandha and giloy come with immense health benefits. Both these herbs have amazing immunity boosting properties and offer protection from a range of diseases. It has been used in India since time immemorial to fight off diseases. These are also commonly used herbs in Ayurveda.

Health benefits of giloy

This can offer protection from a range of diseases like dengue and diabetes. It contains antioxidants that protect the body and bring down temperature. It helps your body fight free-radicals and keeps your cells healthy. Giloy provides a protective shield against bacterial and viral infections. If you have this regularly, you will be able to rid your body of toxins, purify your blood and boost your heart health.

How to have it: Extract the juice of a fresh stalk of giloy. Mix it with a handful of tulsi leaves. Boil with 1/2 cup of water and drink it daily. This will increase platelet count in case of dengue fever.

Health benefits of ashwagandha

This herb is known to increase strength and vitality. It has amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that makes your immune system strong so that it can fight off invading pathogens. In fact, many studies on animals have shown that ashwagandha can produce immunoglobulin and enhance your body's immune response. It also boosts your body's defence mechanism by suppressing pro-inflammatory elements like cytokines. That's why it is used to treat several inflammatory diseases too. All these make ashwagandha a potential candidate for COVID-19 trial by the Ministry of AYUSH. Moreover, this herb is also a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants and contains alkaloids, amino acids (including tryptophan), neurotransmitters and many other nutrients. Other than boosting your immunity, this herb also helps you prevent diabetes, stress and thyroid disorders. It boosts cognitive ability and helps you lose weight too.

How to have it: You can buy it is powder for. Just mix a teaspoon with honey or milk and have it before bedtime. This will improve energy, stamina and endurance.

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