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How Effective Ayurveda Medicines Are in Treating COVID-19?

Dr Apurve Mehra, Founder, Biogetica on how Ayurveda has the potential to enhance the body's defence mechanism and if Ayurveda medicine can help in treating COVID-19.

Published: May 26, 2021 5:40 PM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Anjali Thakur

How Effective Ayurveda Medicines Are in Treating COVID-19?
How Effective Ayurveda Medicines Are in Treating COVID-19?

In medicine, efficacy and effectiveness are two distinct things. Efficacy is how well a medicine does in clinical trials. Effectiveness is how well it does in the real world and ease of use is partly what makes an efficacious medicine effective. It is today safe to say Ayurveda is both efficacious and effective in covid for the reasons explained below.

Ayurveda shares many commonalities with the other herbal traditions in the world such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and African Herbalism. Plants such as Mulethi, Neem, and Giloy are used in all these herbal traditions.

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Last February we saw that China had mandated the use of TCM formulas for Covid. It didn’t matter what hospital or Doctor was treating a novel coronavirus patient, they had to use these TCM formulas. This was interesting to note as China had also just finished the Remdesivir trial but chosen these TCM formulas as the first line of defense against Covid. Immediately after this mandate one saw China’s Covid positive case count plummet. Many thought it was a lie. Now one year later we all know it was not a lie and that these formulas actually ended Covid for China. This move was a huge inspiration to herbalists globally who were unsure of how to deal with the novel coronavirus.

Last March we saw the president of Madagascar release Covid Organics a simple medicinal drink containing Artemisia, Neem, and Lemon. Most people considered the move immature as Covid Organics had only been tested on 20 patients without a controlled trial and hence the data on it was not statistically significant. Some African countries sent official planes to carry Covid Organics back to their lands. What emerged within a month was data showing that Madagascar and other African countries that used Covid Organics had way lower mortality rates than neighbouring countries that didn’t. This also was another event that further established the effectiveness of natural medicine in treating Covid.

The Max Planck Institute in Germany Studied Artemisia extracts against Novel Corona Virus In Vitro. What they found was that extracts of Artemisia went in and broke the bond that Covid Spike proteins make with cells. This was a huge breakthrough as till then no one had figured a way of breaking the bond between coronavirus and the cell. Simultaneously tons of other research also came out showing that the DNA of certain plants dock into the Coronavirus and make it less infectious to the cell. Other data showed things like plants: reducing cytokine storms; dissolving the envelope that protects the novel coronavirus; dilating the lungs and increasing oxygenation; thinning the blood and toning the vagus nerve. All these effects are absolutely essential in a Covid medicine for it to be complete and hence the need of the hour is to design herbal covid formulas from the ground up instead of repurposing older cold and flu formulas.

In 2020 the WHO set out guidelines to evaluate natural medicine for covid. The trials for these had to be either placebo-controlled or pharmaceutical controlled. What that means is that half of the patients in the trial are given the herbal medicine being tested in the trial and the other half have to be given a control which is either a placebo or a pharmaceutical approved for use in Covid.

Most of the Ayurvedic trials done in India do not follow this guideline. Most Ayurvedic trials in India were adjunct trials. What that means is that all patients in the trial were given pharmaceuticals and half were given the pharmaceutical and an Ayurvedic such as Coronil. These trials showed no interactions in combining both treatments and also showed better results in the group that took Ayurveda and pharmaceuticals together. Hence Ayurvedic medicines such as Coronil, Clevira, and Kudineer got approved by the AYUSH department as supportive in Covid.

One trial conducted in India however followed the WHO guidelines and compared the effects of an Ayurvedic Medicine called Immunofree and a supplement called Reginmune versus the pharmaceutical SOP currently used in Indian hospitals. Immunofree contains the herbs discussed above including Artemisia. In this trial half patients took pharmaceuticals and half took only Reginmune and Immunofree. The results were groundbreaking as 88% of the patients on Reginmune and Immunofree tested negative on day 5 and 100% tested negative on day 10. No one died. The patients on Reginmune and Immunofree also showed quicker improvements in spO2 and faster resolution of symptoms. This according to many was the best result seen in a trial for Covid treatment as Covid patients on Average take 14 days to be negative without treatment and 11 with treatment. Many were shocked that Ayurveda outperformed the current lines of treatment. The result of this trial is possibly the best news for India at the moment as we are buckling under the second wave. These products are readily available and should be considered by all to keep their families safe. WHO and the Indian Government should also consider making Reginmune and Immunofree India and the world’s first line of defense against Covid. It ultimately does not matter whether the medicine is natural or synthetic. What matters is that the medicine works.

Hence this new data is clearly showing that herbal medicines from the Ayurvedic, TCM, and African traditions are extremely efficacious and effective in treating and preventing Covid and that Dr’s from all traditions should recommend them to patients regardless of the Dr’s training and belief system.

– By Dr. Apurve Mehra, Founder, Biogetica 

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