AYURVEDA: A probable solution for COVID-19

Coronavirus disease which is recently declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization is caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as 2019nCov or COVID19) that has the capability to infect humans as well as animals. The outbreak occurred in the Wuhan city of China in the mid December, 2019. Due to its highly infectious nature this virus had infected more than 8.3 million people throughout the world with mortality rate close to 5.4%. As per WHO record this virus had infected 216 countries, areas or territories with 8385440 confirmed cases and 450686 mortality as on 19th June, 2020 till 5:30 IST. In India alone this deadly virus had infected 380532 people with mortality rate of 3.3% till 8 a.m. on 19th June, 2020. The common symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, running nose, difficulties in breathing. Histological examination of biopsy samples collected from deceased patient’s lung tissue suggests bilateral diffuse alveolar damage together with cellular fibro myxoid exudates. The major reason for the alveolar damage may be associated with the increased production and release of various pro-inflammatory chemical compounds like IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, CCL2, G-CSF, TNF. In this deadly disease even the CD4+ and CD8+ cells count decreases drastically thus weakening the immune system of an individual.

 Currently no vaccine or drug is available in modern medicine to combat this deadly virus. Only treatment available is providing supportive care along with additional drug to provide some relief.  Ayurveda being one of the oldest medical system has the ability to combat any disease without any side-effects. The major reason for lesser application of Ayurveda in treating diseases is due to the scarcity of scientific research work. However, Ministry of AYUSH had recommended the use of Turmeric, Black pepper, Basil, Cinnamon effective in boosting immune system that could be beneficial to combat COVID-19. Recently a well-known yoga guru Ramdev baba had claimed that his company Patanjali had recently found the answer to this problem of the entire world using the ancient Indian ayurvedic system and they have started clinical trials after receiving the approval from appropriate authority of Indian government. So, let us today discuss about six of the potent ayurvedic components that are capable in combating the major factor responsible for death related to COVID-19 as well as reducing the various symptoms associated with COVID-19.

  1. Haldi (Turmeric): Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an Indian herb belonging to the family of Zingiberaceae. In biomedical field turmeric has been shown to possess a wide spectrum beneficial property. Turmeric had been listed in the category of ‘GRAS’ by United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has the capacity to boost immune system by increasing CD4+ T Helper cells as well as B type immune cells. It also has the capacity to down regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory compounds and thus it can act as anti-inflammatory agents as well as analgesics compound. It also has the capacity to decrease the level of alveolar damage caused to lungs.
  • Tulsi (Basil): Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is another Indian ayurvedic herb used in Ayurveda since a very long time. As per charak samhita it has the capacity to increase life span of an individual. Tulsi leaves if consumed orally have the capacity to normalise kapha and vata. Tulsi has the antiviral as well as antipyretic properties. It also improves the immune system of an individual by modulating GABA pathway. It also has the anti-oxidant properties due to the presence of phenolic compounds which can help in the prevention of tissue damage due to the toxic oxidative molecules that may be secreted while viral infection.
  • Neem: Neem (Azadirachata indica) commonly called Indian lilac or Margosa, is considered as a sacred tree as per Indian scriptures. In ancient Indian scriptures neem had been referred as ‘Aristha’ which means complete cure for sickness. It had also been referred as ‘nimba’ which had been derived from ‘nimbati swasthyamdadati’ which means to provide good health. Aqueous leaf extract of Neem has tremendous capability of regulating different aspects of humoral along with cell-mediated immune responses. Extracts from Neem leaves can activate natural killer (NK) cells thereby boosting the immune system. Neem had tremendous anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. It also possesses a potent antipyretic activity comparable to other drugs with similar action.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) can be a potent ayurvedic herb capable of combating COVID-19.Recently it had been shown Ashwagandha has phytocompound which had hinder the entry of COVID-19 virus into an individual as it hinders the binding if Viral S-protein with ACE2 molecule of human. It had been scientifically proved to enhance immune system by increased Th1 response as well as increased T and B cell maturation. It has the antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties which makes Ashwagandha a potent herb that can be beneficial in preventing the harmful effect of COVID-19. It also has the capacity to restore the immune homeostasis as well as it can help in viral clearance. 
  • Giloy:  Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is one of the important as well as very common herb which is normally used as a common ingredient in various Falk, Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha system of medicines. Giloy has shown immune-modulory activity and thus enhances the immune system of an individual. It also has anti-inlammatory properties which once again makes it a potent herb in combating COVID-19. It can also interfere in binding of viral protein with ACE2 and thus can inhibit the entry of the virus. It also has anti-oxidative properties along with anti-pyretic properties which can even reduce the symptoms of this deadly disease.
  • Dalchini (Cinnamon): Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is an ancient Indian spice that has extensive ayurvedic properties. It has been scientifically proven to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules via different pathways. It also has a wide range of antiviral properties. It has antioxidant properties which can reduce the damage caused to different organs due to the generation of oxidative radicals. It has been useful in boosting the immune system by activating humoral immune system.

Written by

Mr Gaurav Singh