The Siddha practice of medicine is drawing attention in Tamil Nadu after the state government authorised its use in Covid 19 treatment. There are two centres, both in Chennai, offering this therapy and the state government is now planning to expand it beyond the city.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said Siddha is an add-on therapy and one of the many preventive methods. “Those who are not showing full-fledged infection, empirically opt for Siddha therapy. We are closely monitoring the Siddha centres in Chennai, those who need oxygen supply are immediately shifted to government hospitals. We are planning to set up Siddha centres across the state,” he said.
According to the Greater Chennai Corporation, as of July 8, a total of 1,036 patients have undergone treatment at the Siddha Covid-19 care centre set up at Jawahar Engineering College. The corporation said 725 patients have been discharged and 311 are currently admitted at the centre.
At the forefront of this therapy is Dr Veerababu, a state-certified Siddha practitioner. He says each patient shows a different symptom. “It’s not like dengue or chikungunya where everyone has the same symptoms. Some of them may have fever; some throat pain and some may have shortness of breath, so we act accordingly,” Dr Babu said.
“We do not allow asymptomatic patients here, all the patients admitted here are symptomatic. I advise the asymptomatic patients to be in home quarantine. We have diabetics, patients with blood pressure and with other co-morbidities. Those with mild symptoms recover in a week and those with heavy symptoms take more than 10 days,” Dr Babu said.
When asked about experts’ opinion that Siddha or Ayurveda medicine is not proven through documented studies, or results, Dr Veerababu says these are not chemicals but natural herbs that do not put patients’ lives at risk. “Zero cases of deaths at this place (Jawahar Engineering College) is an example of the quality of the treatment being provided here. Patients are allowed to do activities like Yoga, walking, and even some of them play games like cricket which, gives them the much-needed relaxation. If they need oxygen support then we direct them to a government hospital,” he said.
Radhakrishnan, the Health Secretary, said the therapy was started in the early stages itself. “We have been providing treatment under the supervision of the respective stream of doctors,” he said.
After the Jawahar college experiment, the Chennai Corporation is planning to set up more facilities of the Siddha COVID-19 care in the city.
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