The Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan released a clinical management protocol of COVID 19 on 6th October 2020, for the prevention of coronavirus infection as well as treatment of other asymptomatic cases. The protocol lists dietary measures, yoga, ayurvedic herbs and formulations such as Ashwagandha and AYUSH-64 for the prevention of infections.
The “ National Clinical Management Protocol” was released by Vardhan virtually with the presence of Shripad Naik, Minister of State for AYUSH. Addressing the gathering through video conference Shripad Naik said that the Ministry of AYUSH had set up an Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Task Force with a group of senior experts to formulate and develop strategies for this initiative.
Shripad Naik said that the Ministry of AYUSH has undertaken many clinical, observational studies to understand the role of AYUSH in mitigation and prevention of COVID19. An Interdisciplinary Committee for Integration of Ayurveda and Yoga Intervention was also set up by the Ministry which was chaired by Dr. VM Katoch, former Director-General ICMR for this “ National Clinical Management Protocol”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gave impetus to the fact that Ayurveda did not receive much attention after independence. He further stated that Ayurveda has an enormous impact on the foundations of modern medicines and thus the introduction of Ayurveda in the prevention of coronavirus infections is a great step.
Suggestions made in the protocol
The Ayush ministry stressed the point that in the lieu of this pandemic, we need to focus on the immune system for the prevention and safeguard from disease progression. The protocol also suggested the use of medicines such as Ashwagandha, Guduchi Ghana Vati, or Chyawanaprasha as prophylactic care for high-risk populations and contacts of patients.
It recommends consumption of Guduchi Ghana Vati, Guduchi and Pippali or AYUSH 64 for asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients for prevention of disease progression to symptomatic and severe forms and to improve recovery rate. The protocol also stated that consumption of Guduchi and Pippali can also help in the recovery of mildly infected patients.
It also mentioned the dose of the medicines to be taken, in addition to these medicines the protocol also stressed on general and dietary measures. It further enables individuals with moderate to severe coronavirus infection to make choices in treatment options.
It asked the Physicians to decide useful formulations based upon their clinical judgment, suitability, availability, and regional preferences from the list of classical medicines as mentioned by the Ministry of AYUSH. The dose may be adjusted based upon the patient’s age, weight, and condition of the disease, the ministry said.
The protocol also listed Ashwagandha, Chyawanprasha or Rasayana Churna for post- COVID 19 management, to prevent lung complications like fibrosis, fatigue, and mental health to further enhance the immune system.
The ministry has listed the Yoga Protocol for Primary Prevention of Covid-19 to improve respiratory and cardiac efficiency and to reduce stress and anxiety and to further enhance immunity. It also mentions the Yoga Protocol to improve pulmonary function and lung capacity and to improve mucociliary clearance.
“This protocol and its annexure are approved by the Chairman, Interdisciplinary Committee for the inclusion of Ayurveda and Yoga in the management of mild Covid-19 and approved by the empowered committee of the Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Taskforce on Covid-19, both constituted by the Ministry of AYUSH,” the document said.
To address this infection effective management is still evolving and There have been attempts to integrate traditional interventions along with the standard of care, the preamble reads.
“Ayurveda and Yoga can certainly play a pivotal role to augment preventive measures provided in the guidelines by the Ministry of Health. The current understanding of Covid-19 indicates that good immune status is vital to prevention and to safeguard from disease progression,” it said.
Ayurveda’s immunity-boosting measures for self care during COVID 19 crisis.
The ministry also recommended certain measures that can be done at individual parts such as gargling with warm water, application of medication oil, cow’s ghee once or twice a day, steam inhalation with Ajwain, Pudina as preventive measures to fight the virus.
Further, it enlisted dietary measures such as warm water with herbs like ginger, coriander, basil or cumin seeds, turmeric milk, and taking Ayush Kadha or Kwath that can be taken once a day.
The Union Minister showed satisfaction with the inclusion of easily available common Ayurvedic herbs, Ashwagandha, AYUSH-64 in the treatment of mild and asymptomatic COVID cases.
Three important aspects of the protocol
The ministry stressed three important aspects- Knowledge from Ayurveda classics and experience from clinical practices, empirical evidence and biological plausibility, and emerging trends of ongoing clinical studies for preparing this protocol.
The protocol document is developed by expert committees from All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), Delhi, Institute of Post Graduate Training and Research in Ayurved (IPGTRA), Jamnagar, and National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), other national research organizations.
Thus the protocol dealing with the measures to prevent coronavirus infection is a significant step in the management of this pandemic and it is also highlighting the relevance of traditional knowledge to solve problems in modern times. The guidelines mentioned in the protocol are beneficial to the public as well as for health sectors as the medicines are natural and are easily accessible and will help to alleviate the hardships at this point in time.
In the lieu of this pandemic, many countries are going back to traditional medicines and studies to fight this over. India too is taking big steps towards it. India is a country where the importance of traditional medicines is always encouraged, given the complexity of the time Ayurveda and Yoga are considered to play a vital role to augment the standard preventive measures for COVID 19.
By: Nikita Sen
Cover image credits: Getty Images