Dr Shiva Ayyadurai of MIT, more famous as the popular contender for the US Senate from Massachussets, is the founder of Cytosolve, a bench mark technology which uses computer software to assess the potential and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and vaccines accurately, sans time delays associated with the usual drawn out clinical trials method.
Using somewhat similar software, Indian researchers have elegantly shown, in the May 2020 online issue of The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medicine that many of the constituents of the ancient Siddha formulation, Kabasura Kudineer and another herbal preparation of the Siddha genre, dubbed ‘JACOM’, are effective against the spike protein of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which is one of the surface proteins that helps the virus enter body cells.
The researchers further state, "Phytoconstituents have good oral bioavailability and are free from toxicity." They are now racing to integrate the best of Kabasura Kudineer and JACOM to create a potent COVID-19 shield , christened 'SNACK-V'.
Even as COVID-19 hit India, the Siddha practitioners in Tamil Nadu had in one voice requested the powers that be, to begin large scale distribution of Kabasura Kudineer; but the ‘modern’ lobby, ignorant of the value of traditional medicines, had shot it down.
Valuable time was lost. As India crosses the 2000 deaths a day mark, perhaps it is time we wake up and begin distribution of Kabasura Kudineer on a war footing.
Another Siddha remedy, Nilavembu Kashayam, actively distributed to frontline anti-COVID workers and the public in Coimbatore district, by NGO’s such as the Isha Foundation, also has potent antiviral activity, according to a publication in a peer reviewed indexed journal.
Just how much the ancient formulation has helped, is debatable; but Coimbatore has not been overwhelmed by COVID-19. Evidence based recommendations to beat COVID-19, by the quarter century old Institute of Functional Medicine which gives out the annual Linus Pauling Awards, emphasises enhancing one’s immunity with nutrition.
In common garden Indian terms, it would translate as greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots for Vitamin A, iron and antioxidants; gooseberries and limes for Vitamin C; neem and tulsi leaves for the immunity mineral, zinc; turmeric for master immune booster, Curcumin; ginger, pepper, mint, for flavonoids and immune modulators; dal and peanuts for protein; and early morning sun and fish for Vitamin D.
There is enough empirical evidence to believe that Asha workers educating housewives about enhancing immunity through nutrition and nationwide distribution of the Siddha system’s time tested, anti-viral shields may be the right way forward; both cost effective and safe.
Certainly it will be better than doing nothing and just reaching for paracetamol when COVID-19 threatens; especially with the lockdown easing. Needless to add, social distancing and hygiene measures must continue; and when ill, standard treatment protocols must be followed.
(The writer is a former senior consultant of General Medicine, Apollo Hospitals in Chennai and can be contacted at email@example.com)