Karnataka: Despite efficacy doubts, people pick alt medicine | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: When he tested positive on May 12, Raju Matpati (name changed), a farmer in Ballari, decided to treat himself with ayurvedic remedies he procured through his friends from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh (AP).
Even when his symptoms worsened and he had trouble breathing, the 69-year-old was reluctant to go to a hospital and continued with alternative medicine. He eventually succumbed to the virus on May 24.
“It’s not that he didn’t trust modern medicines,” said his brother. “He was reluctant to go to a hospital following reports of severe shortage of beds, oxygen, and drugs. He was also worried about having to pay hefty bills.”
Given the huge shortage of oxygen and medicines like remdesivir, people like Matpati are increasingly turning to alternative remedies. Taking advantage of this, several ayurvedic practitioners have been prescribing medicines which they claim would cure Covid-19.
Over the past couple of months, several reports have emerged from the districts of Covid-19 patients approaching ayurvedic practitioners, who claim to have herbal cures for Covid-19. While some say their medicines will boost immunity, others claim their treatment works even against breathlessness.
Bonigi Anandayya, a selfproclaimed ayurvedic practitioner in Nellore district of AP, was in news recently after thousands of people, including some doctors, thronged his centre after reports emerged that he had a magical cure for Covid. Reports claimed he cured Covid by administering eye drops.
Health department officials in AP collected samples of the medicines he administered and sent them to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for tests. The report is awaited.
While there is no scientific proof that ayurveda – there is no sure-shot cure in allopathy either – can cure Covid, health officials say people are turning to them for other reasons as well.
“My father, who was 78, was undergoing treatment at a government hospital. But doctors there asked me to shift him to another hospital for better treatment. They gave up on him. But instead of going anywhere else, we got him treated at an ayurveda centre on the outskirts of Mysuru,” said Veena M, a bank employee.
Such instances have in turn upset allopathic doctors as their job becomes more difficult as Covid-19 patients rely on alternative medicine and, when they don’t work, report late to hospitals. Doctors said they have also noticed low platelet counts and excessive bleeding during surgeries among patients, possibly due to rampant, unmonitored use of herbal remedies.
Dr Ananth Desai, director of Ayush, Bengaluru, clarified that so far there is no ayurvedic medicine to cure Covid-19. “Several ayurvedic practitioners including some leading ones had applied seeking clearance but none were selected. Now, some practitioners have been placing advertisements without our approval. People should not believe such claims,” Dr Desai said.
He said the Ayush ministry has distributed Ayush 64, a poly herbal ayurvedic drug, and kabasura kudineer, a Sidha concoction for Covid-19 patients in home isolation (mild to moderate cases). The efficacy of these drugs has been proved through robust multi-centre clinical trials, Dr Desai said.

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Sagar Biswas

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