Ayurveda to build immunity & combat H1N1 flu-like diseases

With India reporting a total of 36 A(H1N1) influenza deaths, and with the total positive Swine Flu cases in the country standing at 2,401, the Central Ministry in India said that Ayurveda and Unani interventions could be used to bolster immunity to combat several flu-like conditions.

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry at New Delhi, arrived at this decision, after taking into account the expert opinion received by the Department of AYUSH. The department has formed group of experts for suggesting interventions through Indian systems of medicine, which could be used in the prevention/treatment of flu-like diseases. The group includes Ayurveda experts, physicians from government hospitals and private sector, and from research councils.

The experts are of the opinion that viral epidemics are classified under the Vaata Kaphaja Jwara category, as mentioned in Charak Samhita and such other Ayurvedic text books, and that several types of flu and viral fevers fall under this category.

As a preventive measure and for building immunity and to protect from Vaata-Kaphaja diseases, Ayurveda has advised avoiding kapha-provocative diet such as cold food, cold drinks, curd, fruit juices, particularly citrus fruits, fermented food and ice-cream.

People are advised to drink warm water, decoction made of any one, or combination of tulsi, ginger, black pepper, guduchi and long pepper in the morning. Also Ayurvedic medications such as Sudershana Churna, Sudershanghanavati, Samshamani Vati (Guduchi Ghanavati) have been advised, as they work by improving host defence mechanism.

Vamana (Emesis) procedure of Panchakarma may also be used under observation of an expert, if required.

The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine has also come out with suggestions of preventive measures. Unani experts have suggested drinking a decoction or tea of Unnab, Sapistan, Bahidana and Dal-chini.

These interventions could be adopted by normal healthy people, and those with mild symptoms such as cold, cough and body pain. However, those with severe symptoms have been advised to visit the designated screening centers for clinical diagnosis and take specific drugs advised by doctors.