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Health Minister releases COVID-19 management protocol based on Ayurveda, Yoga

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New Delhi, Oct 06: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday released a protocol for the clinical management of Covid-19, that lists dietary measures, yoga and Ayurvedic herbs and formulations such as Ashwagandha and AYUSH-64 for prevention of coronavirus infection and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases.

Harsh Vardhan

The 'National Clinical Management Protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for Management of Covid-19' was released by Vardhan in the virtual presence of Shripad Naik, Minister of State for AYUSH.

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"This protocol dealing with preventive and prophylactic measures is a significant step not only in management of Covid-19 but also in making traditional knowledge relevant to solving problems of the modern time," Vardhan was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Unfortunately, Ayurveda did not receive much attention after independence until Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up this cause with the importance it deserves," he said while stressing that Ayurveda "had a significant impact in the foundations of modern medicine".

The AYUSH ministry, in the protocol document, pointed out that the current understanding indicates a good immune system is vital for prevention of coronavirus infection and to safeguard from disease progression.

The protocol suggests use of medicines such as Ashwagandha, Guduchi Ghana Vati or Chyawanaprasha as prophylactic care for high risk population and primary 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.

Guduchi and Pippali, and AYUSH 64 tablets can be given to mild coronavirus infected patients, it said.

The protocol also mentions the dose of these medicines that is to be taken. The guidelines stated that in addition to these medicines, general and dietary measures have to be followed. Individuals with moderate to severe coronavirus infection may make informed choice of treatment options and all severe cases will be referred, the protocol said.

Physicians have to decide useful formulations from the list or substitutable classical medicines based upon their clinical judgement, suitability, availability and regional preferences. Dose may be adjusted based upon the patient's age, weight, and condition of the disease, the ministry said.

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The document also listed Ashwagandha, Chyawanprasha or Rasayana Churna for post-Covid-19 management in order to prevent lung complications like fibrosis, fatigue and mental health.

Further, to improve respiratory and cardiac efficiency, to reduce stress and anxiety and enhance immunity, the ministry has listed Yoga Protocol for Primary Prevention of Covid- 19. The document also mentions Yoga Protocol for Post Covid-19 care (including care for Covid-19 patients) in order to improve pulmonary function and lung capacity, reduce stress and anxiety and improve muco-ciliary clearance.

"This protocol and its annexure are approved by the Chairman, Interdisciplinary Committee for 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.

Effective management to address this infection is still evolving and attempts are being made to integrate traditional interventions along with standard of care, the preamble read.

"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.

The ministry also recommended gargling with warm water added with a pinch of turmeric and salt, nasal instillation/application of medicated oil (Anu taila or Shadbindu taila), plain oil or cow's ghee once or twice a day, especially before going out and after coming back home, steam inhalation with Ajwain, Pudina or Eucalyptus oil once a day, moderate physical exercises and following Yoga protocol as general measures.

Dietary measures include use of warm water or boiled with herbs like ginger, coriander, basil or cumin seeds etc., for drinking purpose, drinking golden milk (half tea spoon turmeric powder in 150 ml hot milk) once at night (avoid in case of indigestion) and taking Ayush Kadha or Kwath (hot infusion or decoction) once a day.

Vardhan expressed satisfaction with the inclusion of easily available and common Ayurvedic herbs and formulations like Guduchi, Ashwagandha, AYUSH-64 in treating mild and asymptomatic Covid cases, the statement said.

Three aspects -- knowledge from Ayurveda classics and experience from clinical practices, empirical evidences and biological plausibility and emerging trends of ongoing clinical studies -- were considered while preparing this protocol, the ministry said.

This consensus 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, the ministry said.

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