KOCHI: As demand for arishtams and aasavams (fermented ayurveda medicines) as an alternative to hard liquor has increased during the lockdown period, state Excise Department has decided to crack the whip to check its sales mandating that arishtams could be sold only by ayurveda agencies which have in-house ayurveda doctors or to patients who come with doctor prescription.
Since lockdown, Excise Department has seized several quantities of illegally brewed arishtams with Ernakulam district alone accounting for over 300 litres. Excise officials said they had seized bottles of arishtams which do not have any label or details of the maker. “Many agencies are conducting loose sales of arishtams as per the demand from tipplers. We have allowed sale of arishtams and aasavams as medicines. So there should be criteria for its sales.
We have decided to make retail sales of arishtams only by qualified ayurveda doctors and ayurveda pharmacists,” said Excise Deputy Commissioner A S Ranjith. He said strict action would be taken against ayurveda agencies who are into retail sales of arishtams and aasavams to public without prescription of qualified ayurveda doctors.
Ayurveda Medical Association of India president Dr Raju Thomas said the Excise should take stern action against those who are into illegal brewing of arishtam. “We cannot call illegal brew as arishtams. We don’t know what is going into its production. Arishtams and aasavams are ayurvedic medicines which are to be sold only through a certified ayurveda medical practitioner.
An ayurvedic doctor prescribes a particular arishtam for a specific health ailment and there is a proper dosage limit also. One should not consume arishtam without consulting an ayurveda doctor as it will affect liver and other internal organs. Arishtams in ayurveda stores are medicines and not a drink,” he said.
The sale and production of arishtams are regulated under Section 6 and 7 of the Spirituous Preparation (Control) Rules 1969. Excise officials said ayurveda pharmacy stores have been witnessing a surge in demand for arishtams that have alcohol content upto 10 per cent.