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Can Herbal Medicine Work Against The Coronavirus?

HEALTH NEWS: Should you be trying alternative medicine to keep you safe from the coronavirus? The Ayush Ministry of India has been releasing a series of health advisory notices and on the long list of recommendations include the Unani concoctions Sharbat Unnab and Tiryaq Arba, and the homeopathic medicine Arsenicum Album 30 for post-exposure prophylaxis for doctors and caregivers.

What does Unani mean? Unani (meaning “Greek” or “Ionian” in Arabic), a.k.a. yunani or unani is pharmacotherapy involves giving the patient some herbal concoctions.

In the absence of a scientifically proven cure or preventative for novel coronavirus infection, should one use alternative medicine?

What are the Unani concoctions? Sharbat Unnab is known to be an aid to purify blood and normalises the blood circulation within the body while Tiryaq Arb is used to detoxify your body of toxic substances and as a supplement for the brain and heart.

This is what the World Health Organization has to say: “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines.”

Doctors are discouraging use of drugs recommended by practitioners of alternative medicine because a drug has to be developed keeping in mind its safety and efficacy.

For hydroxychloroquine pushed by the Health Ministry, the efficacy is still being investigated — but its safety has been documented through years. No such data are available for any of the traditional ‘remedies’ on social media.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is new — and its nature is still being studied by scientists.

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Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority during the coronavirus crisis. 

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