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Posted on May 05, 2020, 1 p.m.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently published a well reference description of how the Indian traditional medicine of Ayurveda can help to support local and systemic prophylaxis of COVID-19. 

Experts including the chair of the Indian Government’s committee that has been charged to lead the nation’s efforts on the potential uses of the traditional medicine relative to this outbreak describe how the approach of Ayurveda and yoga can potentially help to strengthen host immunity to provide an effective, accessible, and affordable means to help prevent infection with disease which includes COVID-19. 

The ancient traditional medicine focuses on host responses and includes herbal preparations as well as measures that can be taken to help lead a healthy lifestyle that can potentially help one to better cope with various stressors which includes infection. 

The concept of stimulating immune function is one of the cornerstones to Ayurvedic practices, of which the authors discuss such methods as potential approaches to help block virus entry to the body as well as passage to the lungs. These methods may include consumption of hot water, hot foods, hot herbal drinks, gargling with medicated water, and steam inhalation to achieve systemic prophylaxis focussing on overall health by addressing factors like diet, sleep, mental relaxation, lifestyle, behaviors, and yoga. 

The paper is co-authored by Girish Tillu, PhD and Bhushan Patwardhan, PhD, AYUSH Center of Excellence, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Sarika Chaturvedi, PhD, DrDY, Patil University, and Arvind Chopra, MD, Center for Rheumatic Diseases, Pune, India; and it describes the science supporting Rasayana therapies which is an Ayurveda specialty that deals with rejuvenation and stimulating immunity; with the authors noting that certain botanicals have been found to be particularly effective in immunomodulation and restoration of immune homeostasis. 

“In COVID-19 we are seeing a collision of the acute (the virus) -- and the chronic (the host conditions that increase susceptibility). The authors assemble a well-referenced argument from biomedical research and some traditional texts to make a compelling case for more increased clinician and research attention to integrating Ayurveda and Yoga with biomedical approaches as prophylactic, host-supporting measures," writes the peer reviewed publications editor in chief, John Weeks. 

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