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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Kolkata sweet shop makes herb-infused ‘Immunity Sandesh’ to battle Covid-19

Launched earlier this week in June, the hexagonal sandesh features 14 ingredients known for boosting immunity.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata | Updated: June 8, 2020 7:15:42 pm
immunity sandesh, kolkata immunity sandesh, Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick, kolkata corona theme misti, kolkata sweets, viral news, bengal coronavirus updates, indian express Topped with dry fruits and saffron, the sandesh is made of channa without any artificial colours or sugar. (Express photo Partha Paul)

A sweet shop has come up with a unique product for its customers during the Covid-19 pandemic, an ‘Immunity Sandesh’ infused with herbs and spices.

Stores of the Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick franchise launched the product last week, and said its latest offering is “selling like hot cakes”. The sandesh is said to have 14 ayurvedic ingredients that are said to be immunity boosters.

It has tulsi, yashtimadhu (licorice roots), tej patta (bay leaves), haldi (turmeric) and spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and kala jeera (black cumin). Also, it doesn’t have any sugar or added colour.

“We have not used jaggery or sugar too to make it healthy and instead opted for pure Himalayan honey,” said Sudip Mullick, the owner of the 135-year-old brand.

“However, as it also includes few ingredients that have ‘heat’ like black pepper, ginger and peepul — we had to ensure it was still tasty and sweet,” he told indianexpress.com.

immunity sandesh, kolkata immunity sandesh, Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick, kolkata corona theme misti, kolkata sweets, viral news, bengal coronavirus updates, indian express Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick said they are currently making around 1000 pieces are day. (Express photo Partha Paul)

“Right now amid this pandemic there is no medicine or vaccine yet. The only way we can fight now is by building our immunity, and in India since we have a long tradition of eating such ingredients everyday, we thought why not make a sweet with it,” Mullick said.

Each unit of this special sweet costs Rs 25, and Mullick said they had to increase production since launching it to meet demand. He said it will be produced as long as there’s demand. This isn’t the first coronavirus-inspired sweet to emerge from the city. In April, a sweet shop in Jadavpur saw pictures of its coronavirus-shaped sweets and cupcakes being shared widely on social media.

While the latest product has come in for some criticism and mocking on social media, Mullick said they aren’t claiming the sweet will cure or prevent one from being infected by the virus.

“The need of the hour to adapt a healthy lifestyle and be conscious about eating food that improves our immune system. We hope at least with all the buzz around the sweet people will at least start paying attention to that,” he said.

immunity sandesh, kolkata immunity sandesh, Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick, kolkata corona theme misti, kolkata sweets, viral news, bengal coronavirus updates, indian express A customer buys the Immunity Sandesh from the franchise’s oldest shop in Bhowanipore. (Express photo Partha Paul)

Delhi-based nutritionist Mamta Dagar agreed with Mullick.

“Until now the world doesn’t know of any vaccines or remedies to combat the virus. In such circumstances, a nutritious diet and a good immune system is very essential,” she said.

“Immunity is basically our superpower to fight off any bacterias and viruses which can make us ill. Even if one falls ill, the recovery of a person totally depends on their immunity. If you have strong immunity, your cells can fight with the coronavirus too,” she said.

However, Dagar pointed out that one’s immunity cannot be strengthened in a day and a balanced diet that includes the  herbs and spices used in the sweet can help. She also cautioned that while herbs can be sweetened before consumption, the “idea is to use natural sweeteners rather than added sugars for the desserts”.

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