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The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged healthcare systems globally. It has focused attention on the need to strengthen not only the healthcare system but also one’s immunity. Ayurveda has helped us in achieving effective, safe, and affordable prophylaxis against Covid-19. It can offer the best option, having preventive as well as curative measures. Many drugs have been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts having immunomodulatory effects that have shown stunning results in research. Mulethi, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, Guduchi, Pippali are some well-known drugs when it comes to boosting immunity with herbal formulations.
Scientists at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar have found that an ingredient in Mulethi (Yashthimadhu in Sanskrit) has the potential to emerge as a drug candidate against SARS-CoV-2 as it lowers the severity of the disease and brings down viral replication.
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‘Withaferin’ isolated from Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has antibacterial, antitumoral, immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory properties. (Budhiraja RD, Sudhir S. Review of biological activity of withanolides. JSIR. 1987;46:488–491).
There is growing evidence that tulsi can tackle physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions. It is a potent adaptogen that helps with the adaptation with stress, has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-asthmatic, antitussive, antipyretic, anti-allergic and many other beneficial properties. Possible medicinal properties reported by scientific research include anti-diabetic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-stress, antiepileptic, antimalarial, hepato-protective, immuno-modulatory and anti-neoplastic activities. It is used as a rasayana to improve the immune system and body resistance against infections.
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Traditionally Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is known for its antipyretic activity. The dried stem of Guduchi has significant anti-inflammatory effects in both acute and subacute models of inflammation.(Wesley JJ, Christina AJ, Chidambaranathan N. Effect of alcoholic extract of Tinospora Cordifolia on acute and subacute Inflammation. Pharmacologyonline. 2008;3:683–7.) The juice is also employed for the treatment of chronic coughs. (Spelman K. Traditional and clinical uses of Tinospora cordifolia, guduchi. Aust J Med Herbalism. 2001;13:49–57). It also has anti-infective, hepato-protective properties and is mentioned as Rasayana in Ayurvedic texts.
Pippali (Piper longum) has shown remarkable effects against diseases and conditions and has properties like anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, analgesic, anti-microbial, bioavailability-enhancer, etc.
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India is the country where the world's oldest living health care system originated. Ayurveda has enough potential and possibilities to be employed both for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Utilization of Traditional Indian Medicine to treat COVID-19 cases can set the example demonstrating that traditional health care can contribute to treatment of these patients successfully.