‘Ayurveda for Covid-19: why shying away from reality!’

The debates still rage on over why Ayurveda is yet to be allowed as a possible Covid-19 treatment option. In fact, various studies show the ancient science having the desired output. A preliminary study by the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) in the south Indian state of Kerala found the traditional medication effective in preventing the disease. Vaidya M Prasad, Director of Sunethri Ayurvedashramam and former principal of Ashtamgam Ayurveda Vidhyapeedham, Palakkad, Kerala, shares his thoughts on the matter.


The Kerala State Ayurveda Covid-19 Response Cell (SACRC) through its Amrutham Project, meant for preventive interventions against the deadly disease, has covered over 1.70 lakh people and only less than 1000 out of them have turned ‘positive’ later.

These figures are not negligible. Of course there are many queries to be answered. Is the data collection done systematically? Will those individuals who tested ‘negative’ continue to be so? If yes, for how long? Is it for their entire life time? If not, for how long will they get the protective cover? Do they need to repeat what they did? Or do they have to continue it on a daily basis? These are all valid questions.

Still, the Amrutham project has become a commendable example of mass level Ayurvedic public health intervention which is going to be registered in the annals of history.  But this achievement by the Ayurvedic fraternity in the state, especially the SACRC and the ISM department, does not seem to have any impact on the state’s policy decisions. They are shying away from the reality.  There may be many questions popping up in unprejudiced minds:- 

1. Why is this public health intervention successfully implemented by the Ayurvedic workforce left unacknowledged? 

2. In spite of the SACRC project being a government initiative, why is it not propagated through the Government’s official health advisories? 

3. Why do the public relations advertisements and the BSNL ringtone type propagation not featuring these programmes? 

4. Why don’t we see advises to follow Amrutham intervention modules getting scrolled on TV screens?

5. Why do the authorities hold back from introducing Ayurvedic care for Covid-19 positive cases in the official centres at all levels?

6. If Ayurvedic intervention is supposed to (or even claimed to) reduce the virus spread (as in the case of the Amrutham project), why is this data not highlighted and the Ayurvedic cure not extended for Covid positive cases (even if the claimed results are empirical)?

7. Why are the authorities reluctant to implement Integrated Medical Facilities for the care of Covid positive cases when the state witnesses spiralling of the viral infection?

8. Ayurvedic physicians are contacted for medical advice on handling the Covid-19 situations across the world. Most non-resident Keralites are taking Ayurvedic medicines as preventive as well as treatment options.  It is a fact that anyone can contract the infection from anyone. There is no discretion. It does not matter whether the individual is a doctor or a vaidya, a professional or a nonprofessional, expert or a layperson.  The best possible care is the right of everyone.  What is the justification in keeping Ayurvedic physicians out from performing their duties, especially at a time when the society needs them the most?

Director of Sunethri Ayurvedashramam and former principal of Ashtamgam Ayurveda Vidhyapeedham, Palakkad, Kerala

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