New Delhi housewife Sashi scoops COVID-19 “immunity boosting” powder into a jug of water every morning for her family, joining a growing number of Indians who believe that traditional supplements will help ward off the virus.
People in India are increasingly turning to Hindu ayurvedic medicine amid the pandemic and modern Indian consumer companies are cashing in on growing demand for alternative approaches, turning homemade therapies into packaged products such as turmeric milk and holy basil drops.
Sashi, 50, saw adverts on television for a herbal drink made by ayurveda and yoga tycoon Baba Ramdev “that can keep my family safe from the coronavirus.”
“I thought that since it’s been on TV, it must be good,” she said.
The pandemic has increased nervousness about the fragile state of India’s healthcare system. Experts say that because of under-testing and under-reporting the number of cases and deaths is much higher that officially reported.
The natural remedies sector was massive even before the pandemic, with claims that they could treat everything from cancer to the common cold.
It is now worth US$10 billion a year, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Ayurveda practitioner Bhaswati Bhattacharya said that the lack of a coronavirus vaccine and other conventional treatments has driven the rush toward familiar natural remedies.
“Ayurveda has been written for 5,000 years and been around probably for twice that at least. It’s lived through plagues, smallpox and pandemics, so people are saying: ‘Let’s see if it works,’” Bhattacharya said.
The rising interest in ayurveda — the “science of life” in Sanskrit — and other therapies has also been encouraged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which in 2014 set up the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy.
In January the ministry touted traditional remedies as a means to combat the novel coronavirus.
More recently, Indian Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan released guidelines for treating some asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 with ayurveda and yoga.
At chemists, ayurveda products are displayed as prominently as pharmaceutical drugs.
Mother Dairy, a leading milk producer, said that there has been a “phenomenal” consumer response to its recently launched turmeric milk for children.
“The demand is very, very high so we are ramping up the production and distribution,” Mother Dairy products chief Sanjay Sharma told reporters.
“Health and immunity-led products are a new phenomena. This is an opportunity ... to provide precautionary healthcare for consumers at a very affordable price,” Sharma said.
China is racing to quash a new COVID-19 flareup that risks spilling over into one of its most economically significant regions, raising the specter of disruptions that could roil global supply chains for solar panels, medicines and semiconductors. Infections have surged in Si County in the eastern province of Anhui, with officials reporting 287 cases for Sunday and nearly 1,000 since late last week. Authorities locked down Si and a neighboring county late last week to try and stop the virus from spreading to Jiangsu Province, the second-biggest contributor to China’s economic output and a globally important manufacturing hub for the
OPPOSITION PROTESTS: Many people in Myanmar suspect China of supporting the military takeover, while Beijing has refused to condemn last year’s army power grab China’s top diplomat on Saturday arrived on his first visit to Myanmar since the military seized power last year to attend a regional meeting that the Burmese government said was a recognition of its legitimacy and opponents protested as a violation of peace efforts. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) is to join counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group in the central city of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The grouping is a Chinese-led initiative that includes the countries of the Mekong Delta, a potential source of regional tensions
CERN UPGRADES: ompared with the collider’s first run that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012, this time around there would be 20 times more collisions Ten years after it discovered the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is about to start smashing protons together at unprecedented energy levels in its quest to reveal more secrets about how the universe works. The world’s largest and most powerful particle collider started back up in April after a three-year break for upgrades in preparation for its third run. From today it will run around the clock for nearly four years at a record energy of 13.6 trillion electronvolts, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced at a news conference last week. It is to send two beams of protons
Iran’s top diplomat on Saturday condemned Israel’s latest airstrike on Syria, and criticized recent threats from Turkey about another planned incursion by Ankara into northern Syria. Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian’s remarks came at the start of his visit to Syria, where he was expected to discuss mutual relations and regional affairs with top Syrian officials. Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest backers, sending thousands of fighters from around the region to help his troops in Syria’s 11-year conflict. The war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23