Going Viral: AYUSH Ministry Issues Advisory on Coronavirus Outbreak, Faces Flak Online
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New Delhi: The union ministry of AYUSH on Wednesday issued an advisory on preventive measures to fortify the respiratory system in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 130 people and infected about 6,000 this month in China, with suspected cases cropping up across the world.
No fatalities have been reported in India, but a number of people are being monitored in hospitals across the country, and those coming or returning from China are being screened.
The ministry’s notification, which has sparked criticism on social media for spreading “misinformation”, comes with a disclaimer, stating that it does not claim to be treatment guidance for the coronavirus infection.
The ayurveda advice includes drinking “Shadang Paniya (Musta, Parpat, Usheer, Chandan,Udeechya & Nagar) processed water (10 gm powder boiled in 1 litre water, until it reduces to half)”, and taking “Agastya Harityaki 5 gm, twice a day with warm water”, “Samshamani Vati 500 mg twice a day”, “Trikatu (Pippali, Marich & Shunthi) powder 5 gm and Tulasi 3-5 leaves (boiled in 1 litre water, until it reduces to ½ litre…)”, and “Pratimarsa Nasya: Instill two drops of Anu taila/Sesame oil in each nostril daily in the morning”.
The notification also says that the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, after a meeting of its Scientific Advisory Board on January 28, advised “that homoeopathy medicine Arsenicum album 30 could be taken as prophylactic medicine against Coronavirus infections… daily in empty stomach for three days”.
Several unani medicines have also been recommended, including “Sharbat Unnab 10-20 ml twice a day”, “Tiryaq Arba 3-5 g twice a day”, “Tiryaq Nazla 5 g twice a day”, and “Khamira Marwareed 3-5 g once a day”. A little “massage on scalp and chest with Roghan Baboona/Roghan Mom/Kafoori Balm”, and applying “Roghan Banafsha gently in the nostrils” may also be beneficial, it suggests.
The advisory by the ministry of AYUSH – Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy – also bats for general sanitary measures for prevention of air-borne infections such as maintaining personal hygiene, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. The ministry has also advised covering face while coughing or sneezing and preferably using an N95 mask while travelling or working in public places to avoid droplet transmissions.
The source of the new virus and the full extent of its spread are still unknown. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) said most cases reported to date “have been milder, with around 20% of those infected experiencing severe illness.” The virus is from the coronavirus family, which includes those that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS.
(With agency inputs)