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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 119-121

Ayurveda in communicable diseases in view of post-COVID management

Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission11-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance16-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Tanuja Manoj Nesari
All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jacr.jacr_22_21

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How to cite this article:
Nesari TM. Ayurveda in communicable diseases in view of post-COVID management. J Ayurveda Case Rep 2020;3:119-21

How to cite this URL:
Nesari TM. Ayurveda in communicable diseases in view of post-COVID management. J Ayurveda Case Rep [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 8];3:119-21. Available from: http://www.ayucare.org/text.asp?2020/3/4/119/311500

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems, and the world of work[1] that has affected day-to-day life of thousands of people. This being a novel viral disease, exact treatment approaches are not available. Emphasis is being focused on taking precautions such as adhering to extensive hygiene protocol, physical distancing, and wearing of masks.[2] Stress is being given on observing healthy life style practices and maintaining basics of sanitization of surrounding places, creating awareness about updated information on management protocols from trusted sources, etc.,[3] that are proving to be useful in containing the infection.

Importance of healthy life and practices for keeping good health along with a code of moral (physical, mental, spiritual, and social) conduct has comprehensively been prescribed in the classical literature of Ayurveda, i.e., Achara rasayana (Sadvritta) for the maintenance of healthy life style in relation to an individual and society as well. Very minute, specific, and elaborative guidelines have been prescribed in relation to activities related to personal physical hygiene. For example, classics of Ayurveda have advised trimming of growing nails and moustaches at appropriate intervals. Dirt is not allowed to accumulate in these places.[4] Appropriate hand hygiene including diligently cleaning and trimming fingernails has been advocated, in the absence of which dirt and germs may harbor and can potentially contribute to the spread of infections. Fingernails should be kept short, and the undersides should be cleaned frequently with soap and water.[5] Hand hygiene, household cleaning, and food safety constitute the main focus for hygiene interventions in the home and community.[6] Hand hygiene after contact with potentially infected people is emphasized in societies. This simple, primary preventive measure that most people can do independently has received considerable attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.[7]

The concepts of communicable diseases and modes of disease transmission have been explained in detail in the classical literature.[8] It has been emphasized that by the continuous and repeated exposure of an individual to the exhaled air, touch, eating together from one source, sleeping and lying together, and use of used cloths of the infected person cause manifestations of various diseases including different types of fevers that transmit from one person to other. Such conditions are said to be because of vitiation of environmental factors such as air, water, place, climate, and other artificial calamities.[9] Pollution of air, water, etc., due to lack of personal and community hygiene, is also included here and it is opined that lack of cleanliness as an important factor in disease causing factors besides various organisms that infect the people,[10] manifesting symptoms such as cough, breathlessness, rhinitis, vomiting, headache, and fever.[11]

  Management Top

The management measures can thus not only include preventive care including physical, local, and systemic measures as seen through the advisories of Government of India[12] but also must include prophylactic aspects too. Ayurveda including Yoga focuses upon dimensions of physical, mental, and spiritual health through various approaches. Rasayana (immunomodulation) is one of the comprehensive disciplines of Ayurveda, which has a specialized approach of using formulations, food articles, and modified life style along with self-discipline with social etiquette to achieve the optimum state of tissues and systems of the body. In other words, it can be stated that Rasayana is a way to achieve homeostasis and prevention of diseases.[13] Herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Linn.), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia [Thunb.] Miers), Kalamegha (Andrographis paniculata [Burm. f.] Nees), Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica L.), Tulasi (Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn.), and Haridra (Curcuma longa Linn.) are potential and can be proven to be useful in such maladies.

In the management of such manifestations, measures to control and destroy infectious agents are also to be adopted in addition to the above measures. Observation of Dharma (~code of conduct), Homa/Yajna (~medicated fuming/herbal fumigation) of the surroundings, etc., are such measures that are pivotal. It has been scientifically proved that the medicated fumes coming out from ghee and other substances put in fire during Homa have bactericidal effects. Fumigation with natural plant products is effective in reducing air-borne bacteria and in disinfecting inanimate surfaces. The traditional fumigation with herbal products has huge potential to address the problem of nosocomial infections.[14] Fumes of the plants such as C. longa, Terminalia chebula, Cyperus rotundus, Elettaria cardamomum, Saussurea lappa, Cinnamomum camphora, Cedrus deodara, Santalum album, Shorea robusta, Azadirachta indica, and Commiphora mukul are beneficial in disinfecting the atmosphere.[15]

For preventing diseases caused by vitiated air specially during such pandemics, it has been advocated to leave the vitiated place for some time so that the air can be treated by various methods including Homa to prevent further transmission of diseases.[16] In addition to these, a number of methods to protect the individual from infection are mentioned at various Ayurvedic texts. It has been advocated to cover the face while sneezing, laughing, and/or yawning.[17] Pratimarsha nasya with Anu taila should be done before going out and after coming from outside to prevent infection through the infected dust inhaled, inferring that respiratory hygiene, or respiratory etiquette, including turning away and covering the mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing, together with appropriate disposal of tissues, and staying home when ill with a cough and fever.

  Experiencing the Strength of Ayurveda in Care and Cure of COVID-19 at All India Institute of Ayurveda Top

Being a tertiary care center for Ayurveda and a dedicated COVID health center (CHC), All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) is observing all such measures explained in the classical literature of Ayurveda. All the health workers team deployed in the CHC who were having the high risk of infection with COVID-19 have been following these preventive measures and Ayurvedic medications (Samshamani vati, AYUSH kadha, Chyavanaprasha, and Anu taila). Till now, majority of the healthcare workers were tested negative and observed without any health complications. After getting approval from the Ethics Committee and registration in CTRI, AIIA has completed population-based observational study in a large-scale cohort of 80,000 Delhi Police to generate evidence against Ayurvedic interventions in improving immunity through a preventive AYURAKSHA kit, holding a few formulations of scientific rigor, significant reduction in mortality rate, and decrease incidences of infection. In addition to this, the AIIA is also involved in the developing advisories on the management various levels of COVID-19 infection like post-COVID management. About 11 studies have been registered in CTRI and evidential basis for the management of COVID-19 is being generated through these researches.

The total number of COVID-related AYUSH studies registered at CTRI is 197 until August 24, 2020, of which 113 studies (57.3%) are from Ayurveda, under the Aegis of Ministry of AYUSH with another nine of them with an intra-AYUSH collaboration.[18] This infers about the increasing demand toward traditional systems of medicine. All such studies are expected to generate scientific evidence that further helps in explaining the role of AYUSH medicines in wake of COVID in larger interest.

Ayurveda can play significant role in Post-COVID management. The Post-COVID management protocol released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, has also emphasizes on AYUSH medicines and Yoga in Post- COVID - follow-up protocols. These AYUSH measures can also be used as adjuvants after vaccination and or along with conventional management.

Throughout the world, screening is being carried out to verify herbal medicines with the potential to directly inhibit 2019 novel coronavirus, and there is a huge potential for such herbal interventions to be used in place or along with the conventional drugs that is attracting global community for its significant role in healthcare system.

  References Top

Haleem A, Javaid M, Vaishya R. Effects of COVID-19 pandemic in daily life. Curr Med Res Pract 2020;10:78-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public. [Last accessed on 2021 Jan 04].  Back to cited text no. 3
Shastri HP, editor. Ashtanga Hridayam of Vagbhata, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 2. Ver. 31-3. Varanasi: Chowkhambha Surbharati Prakashan; 2016. p. 31-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/hand/nail_hygiene.html/. [Last accessed on 2021 Jan 24].  Back to cited text no. 5
Nicolle L. Hygiene: What and why? CMAJ 2007;176:767-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Alzyood M, Jackson D, Aveyard H, Brooke J. COVID-19 reinforces the importance of handwashing. J Clin Nurs 2020;29:2760-1.  Back to cited text no. 7
Shastri A, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Nidana Sthana. Ch. 5. Ver. 32-3. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan; 2012. p. 325.  Back to cited text no. 8
Acharya YT, editor. Commentary Ayurveda Dipika of Chakrapanidatta on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Vimana Sthana. Ch. 3. Ver. 13-5. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2011. p. 508.  Back to cited text no. 9
Acharya YT, editor. Commentary Ayurveda Dipika of Chakrapanidatta on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Vimana Sthana. Ch. 3. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2011. p. 505-17.  Back to cited text no. 10
Shastri A, editor. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 6. Ver. 19. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan; 2012. p. 30.  Back to cited text no. 11
Goyal M. Rasayana in perspective of the present scenario. Ayu 2018;39:63-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Bhatwalkar SB, Shukla P, Srivastava RK, Mondal R, Anupam R. Validation of environmental disinfection efficiency of traditional Ayurvedic fumigation practices. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2019;10:203-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
Shastri A. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Kalpa Sthana. Ch. 3. Ver. 17. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan; 2012. p. 40.  Back to cited text no. 15
Shastri A. Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 6. Ver. 20. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan; 2012. p. 30.  Back to cited text no. 16
Shastri HP, editor. Ashtanga Hridayam of Vagbhata, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 2, Ver. 35. Varanasi: Chowkhambha Surbharati Prakashan; 2016. p. 32.  Back to cited text no. 17
Bhapkar V, Sawant T, Bhalerao S. A critical analysis of CTRI registered AYUSH studies for COVID- 19. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2020 Nov 26:S0975-9476(20)30103-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2020.10.012. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33262559; PMCID: PMC7690275.  Back to cited text no. 18


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