Ayurveda for Covid-19 mitigation: a look into the Kerala model

While the effectiveness of alternate medicine in preventing and treating novel coronavirus infection is still being hotly debated, the South Indian state of Kerala has taken the lead and decided to use the ancient science of Ayurveda in preventing and mitigating the deadly Covid-19.

The action plan drawn by the state government includes setting up of Ayurvedic Covid-19 response cells at state, district and regional levels, Ayur Raksha clinics for strengthening preventive mechanisms and implementation of Swasthiyam, Sukhayushyam, Punarjani and Niramaya programmes.

Swasthiyam is a comprehensive Ayurvedic programme aimed at enhancing immunity and there-by reducing chances of contracting the virus infection. It comprises dietary, lifestyle and behavioural modifications with minimal specific medications for the entire people, classified into seven groups on the basis of age and risk of Covid-19 exposure. It also aims at popularizing simple and systematic exercises comprising of Yoga (20 minutes daily) for improving physical health, mental health and lung compliance.

Sukhayushyam is for the elderly section above the age of 60 and aimed at sustenance and promotion of general health, mental health and to minimize infection susceptibility as well as fatal complications.

Under the Punarjani convalescent care project, specific Ayurvedic treatment is provided to cured Covid-19 patients in the recovery phase after the mandatory isolation of 14 days post discharge from the hospital, according to a Government Order issued in this respect.

The government will also establish Niramaya, the official virtual platform for enabling effective utilization of all the Ayurvedic strategies planned for Covid-19 mitigation.

“Several Ayurveda medications are effective as immune modulators and prevent us from getting infected by the viral infection. For instance, the commonly available ginger or black pepper… Similarly managing one’s diet is also equally important…,” said Dr P K Warrior, noted Ayurveda exponent and Managing Trustee of the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala.

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