Ayurvedic Herbs as an Add-on Therapy for Covid

In a recent clinical study conducted by Sri Sri Tattva along with scientists from the Frankfurt Innovation Centre for Biotechnology, it was observed that a new ayurvedic formulation has shown effective results in tackling the COVID-19 infection. The Centre and Sri Sri Tattva studied the efficacy of a novel Siddha formulation known as Kabasura Kudineer as an add-on therapy to the standard of care treatment to patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms. The main objective of this formulation was to boost the immune system and to improve the quality of life. This formulation was recognised in the Parliament and also the Madras High Court directed the government to spread the word about the immunity boosting Kabasura Kudineer tablets.

The viral spike proteins that assist the virus in attaching on to a healthy cell in the human body are the most potential targets to nip the infection in the very initial stages. A study that was conducted earlier this year showed the structure of the viral spike protein. The study also revealed to which particular receptor on the human cell, the virus bound to. This happened to be the ACE2 receptor- the same receptor that was used by the 2005 SARS virus(1).

In-vitro studies conducted at the Tebu-bio Labs, France showed that the Kabasura Kudineer tablet along with two other ayurvedic medicines- Sri Sri Tattva Amruth Tablet and Sri Sri Tattva Chyawanprash acted by inhibiting the interaction between the viral spike protein and the human cell receptor- ACE2.

The tablet was studied by various institutions that include Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bengaluru and Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI).

At Narayana Hrudalaya, a randomised two-arm clinical study was conducted between patients who only underwent allopathic treatment and those who were administered both allopathy and Ayurveda Patients between the age of 20-55 with very mild symptoms of COVID, with no comorbidities and no requirement of ventilators were chosen for the study. They were administered Kabasura Kudineer tablets, shakthi Drops and Turmeric plus tablets. The clinical study showed that there was early recovery with respect to stage 1 and 2 of the infection and it was effective in controlling the fever and also in boosting the immunity of the patient.

BMCRI is currently studying the role of Kabasura Kudineer in boosting immunity in both asymptomatic patients and patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 as well as on Health-care workers assigned to COVID-19 wards. In this study, they have measured the levels of various anti-oxidant markers such as Superoxide dismutase, Catalase and also immune biomarkers such as IFN-β and IFN- γ. Why study these biomarkers?

Dr Ravi Reddy, the chief Science Officer of Sri Sri Tattva told CSP about the necessity of biological tests to evaluate the efficacy of the drug. The in-vitro studies involved various cell lines along with specific biomarkers that indicate the efficacy of the drug activity. They were also able to understand how well and readily the drug was taken by the body.

COVID-19 infections cause an oxidative stress in the cell resulting in free radicals. These free radicals under normal circumstances are required for the proper functioning of many organelles in the cell. However, when there is an imbalance in the body, the free radicals can have a deleterious effect on the very same organelles. To combat this, enzymes such as Superoxide dismutase, Catalase are activated that neutralise the free radicals.

IFN-β and IFN- γ are protein molecules that are critical in activating the immune system to fight a foreign body. These molecules are activated in large numbers when there is an infection.

Hence these biomarkers are crucial indicators to assess the state of infection in the body. According to the research community working on the two clinical trials, the initial outcomes are positive and they hope to see more in the further studies.

Following the studies conducted by the institutions, there has been a demand for the immunity building products- Kabasura Kudineer, Shakthi Drops, Turmeric Plus, Tulasi Arka and Amruth Tablets.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar emphasised on delivering the importance of exploring our traditional medical system of Ayurveda, Siddha in a more scientific manner that will help it reach a wider audience. Since time immemorial, traditional medicine has proven to be effective antipyretic agents. Polyherbal ayurvedic formulations are a combination of various herbs that work together synergistically to control fever and act to combat diseases.

Dr Ravi expressed how Ayurveda has not only been effective as a preventive care but has also proven to be valuable in recuperation, thereby improving the overall quality of life in people.

In the latest session of Ayushman 2020, Pramana: Resources and Sources that focused on Ayurveda literature, Dr Rammanohar, Research director, Amrita School of Ayurveda laid emphasis on Ayurveda’s ability to treat diseases, before and after its onset. Ayurveda is a part of the Atharva Veda that constitutes on Prayascitta or atonement. It means when one does not adhere to the principles of life, disease occurs. Ayurveda allows for Prayascitta till the end- before and after the disease manifests. It works to bring the body back to balance. Modern medicine allows for treatment of a disease only after the practitioners observe an abnormality in the patient’s parameters- such as blood tests. But Ayurveda comes to the rescue even before the abnormality sets in. A shift in balance within the senses indicates a disease onset and this shift varies in each person. Understanding this shift can give rise to customised solutions which is what Ayurveda strives to provide.

 

References:

  1. Lan, J., Ge, J., Yu, J. et al.Structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain bound to the ACE2 receptor. Nature 581, 215–220 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2180-5