In view of the coronavirus scare, district authorities across the state have been distributing ukala, or kadhah, a potion made by brewing local herbs, berries and spices as immunity booster.
Since March 10, around 20 lakh people in the state have taken the concoction, which is being distributed along with phials containing the homeopathic Arsenic Album 30 pills. According to authorities 12 lakh have taken the pills. Ahmedabad tops the list of beneficiaries among 33 districts with around 2 lakh people taking the concoction and over 95,000 taking the homeopathic pills.
Bhavna T Patel, Director of AYUSH department, said, “Following news of COVID-19, 20 lakh people had availed ‘ukala’, with most seen taking home dry powder packets, which is available free of cost and can be used for five days. Another 12 lakh people across the state have bought homeopathic pill Arsenic Album 30. We have seen the maximum demand from Ahmedabad, followed by Gandhinagar, especially from the Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha. We have also seen a demand from other districts such as Rajkot, Amreli and Mehsana.”
According to Dr Hemant Joshi, district AYUSH officer, Ahmedabad, “The total ayurvedic ukala takers in Ahmedabad district stands at 1,92,022 while for homeopathic medicine, it is 96,785 persons. The concoction is a standard ayurveda medicine, which is being prepared by government pharmacies in Rajpipla and Vadodara.”
The concoction and homeopathic pills were also recently distributed at the district collector’s office in Ahmedabad. “Since the AYUSH ministry has advised to take these, for three days it was distributed to people at the collector’s office. This is not a cure for coronavirus but an immunity booster to combat any kind of flu,” Ahmedabad collector K K Nirala told The Indian Express. “Since such a large number of persons have taken these, I have asked the state AYUSH department to conduct a study on the impact as to how has it affected those with or without any symptoms of flu.”
No evidence of ayurvedic or homeopathic medicine being effective for curing COVID-19 exists. However, such remedies will help build immunity, health department principal secretary Jayanti Ravi said recently.
“Apart from the usual preventive measures of hand-washing and cough etiquette, a healthy lifestyle and strong immunity is important to prevent diseases… A group of experts from AYUSH ministry have recommended homeopathic medicine Arsenic Album 30 to increase inherent immunity… There are 568 ayurvedic dispensaries and 38 hospitals where you can also avail of medicinal concoction (ukala) that boosts immunity,” Ravi said at a press conference on March 6.
Similar rush for ukala has been witnessed in other districts also. The health department in Amreli district said it has given ukala to 52,097 persons through around 150 camps organised at government-run ayurvedic and homeopathic hospitals in the district till March 19. Also, 37,967 persons were given homeopathic medicines as a precaution.
Similarly, 300 litres of prepared ukala was distributed in Narmada district. According to M Kothari, District Collector of Narmada, the distribution of the kadhah to people began on March 19 as part of a three-day camp. Kothari said, “We have distributed 300 liters of the kadhah so far as it is an age-old medicine for treatment of fever cold and headaches. The distribution is taking place in all districts where the kadhah is being locally prepared.”
(With inputs from Sohini Ghosh and Gopal Kateshiya)
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