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The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global public health emergency, which started in December 2019 and, as of April 2020, has spread across more than 180 nations, with the United States of America, Spain, Italy, Germany and France among the worst affected.

India, also on the list of affected nations and currently in the second stage of transmission, is now witnessing an escalation in the numbers of those infected due to the increase in testing rates. The Indian central as well as state governments are dealing with COVID-19 by taking all appropriate measures, including the implementation of a 21-day lockdown period beginning on 25 March 2020. 

Along with these measures, general and specific guidelines for the public as well as for healthcare professionals and essential service providers (or frontline workers, as they are being referred to currently). The Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has also come out with a set of guidelines that the general public might consider using to naturally boost their immunity.

Read more: Ayurveda: Ayurvedic medicine, treatment, herbs and remedies

  1. Important note about Ayurveda and COVID-19
  2. General measures to improve immunity
  3. Ayurvedic immunity promoting measures
  4. Ayurvedic procedures that might improve immunity
  5. Ayurvedic remedies for cough and sore throat

It’s very important to remember that while ayurvedic practices have existed in India since ancient times, most of these practices do not have the backing of modern science and medicine. Instead of working like miracle medicines, ayurvedic remedies, immune-boosting practices, etc take a lifetime of implementation to give overall benefits. 

So, even if you adopt these guidelines now, there is no scientific proof that it will suddenly boost your immune system or make it perfect. These Ministry of AYUSH guidelines cannot cure COVID-19. There is no cure, vaccine or remedy for COVID-19 as yet. Following the practices mentioned below might improve your health in the long run, but it’s important to practice all the preventive measures against COVID-19 as well. 

Staying at home, maintaining physical distancing, washing hands, practising respiratory hygiene, etc are some of the measures you must take irrespective of whether or not you adopt these Ministry of AYUSH guidelines. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, do not panic and call a doctor or emergency healthcare services without delay.

The following are some general measures recommended by the Ministry of AYUSH that one can adopt to improve their overall health and fitness levels:

  • Drink plenty of warm or lukewarm water all day.
  • Practice yoga, pranayama and meditation for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Include spices which have medicinal properties in your meals, like turmeric, cumin, coriander and garlic.

The following are some immunity promoting measures recommended by the Ministry of AYUSH:

  • Consume 10 grams or one tablespoon of Chyawanprash - a traditional, bioactive and 100% natural health supplement - every day. Sugar-free Chyawanprash is easily available in the market for those who suffer from diabetes.
  • Prepare and consume the traditional herbal concoction known as Kadha once or twice a day. This drink can be prepared with Indian basil or tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger, munakka or raisin, jaggery and lemon juice.
  • Prepare and consume golden milk or turmeric milk once or twice every day. Turmeric milk can be simply prepared by mixing half a teaspoon of turmeric powder in 150 ml hot milk.

There are a few simple and quick ayurvedic procedures that might help clear out blocked nasal passages. These procedures can be done every day.

  • Nasal application: Apply a drop of ghee, sesame oil or coconut oil on both nostrils once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Oil pulling: Place a tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth, but do not swallow it. Swish the oil around your mouth for two-three minutes, then spit it out. Rinse your mouth with warm water. This can be done twice a day.

Cough and sore throat are seasonal problems that may arise around the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic. While you can use natural remedies for both these issues, they are also symptoms of COVID-19. Hence, you should contact the doctor or emergency health services if your dry cough and sore throat persist for more than three days. If you have fever, difficulty breathing, body ache and other symptoms as well, contact the doctor without any delay at all.

The following are some ayurvedic remedies that might help cure cough and sore throat unrelated to COVID-19:

  • Boil water with mint leaves (pudina) or carom seeds (ajwain), and inhale the steam. This steam inhalation can be done once a day.
  • Mix clove powder with honey in a bowl. A few drops of this concoction can be taken two-three times a day in case of a cough or throat irritation.
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References

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare [Internet]. Government of India. New Delhi. India; Ministry of AYUSH: Ayurveda’s immunity boosting measures for self care during COVID 19 crisis.
  2. Chauhan, Ashutosh. et al. Ayurvedic research and methodology: Present status and future strategies. Ayu. 2015 Oct-Dec; 36(4): 364–369. PMID: 27833362
  3. Vyas, MK. Potential of Ayurveda - An eye opener. Ayu. 2016 Apr-Jun; 37(2): 85–86. PMID: 29200744
  4. Pandey, MM. et al. Indian Traditional Ayurvedic System of Medicine and Nutritional Supplementation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 376327. PMID: 23864888
  5. Patwardhan, B. Bridging Ayurveda with evidence-based scientific approaches in medicine. EPMA J. 2014; 5(1): 19. PMID: 25395997
  6. Payyappallimana, U and Venkatasubramaniam, P. Exploring Ayurvedic Knowledge on Food and Health for Providing Innovative Solutions to Contemporary Healthcare. Front Public Health. 2016; 4: 57. PMID: 27066472
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