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Homoeopathy to treat coronavirus? AYUSH Ministry interjects

7449728 - alternative medicine. homoeopathy conceptThe Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has spoken out about the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting that homoeopathic and unani remedies could be effective in preventing the disease. 

The Ministry advised that symptoms of coronavirus could be managed utilising traditional Indian medicine. “At the instance of Ministry of AYUSH, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy discussed the ways and means of prevention of coronavirus infection through homoeopathy in [the] 64th meeting of its scientific advisory board on 28th January, 2020,” it said in a statement.

Multiple homoeopathic, unani, and other alternative and traditional medicines were recommended, in addition to practices such as good hygiene and the wearing of face masks. “If you suspect Corona Viral infection, wear a mask and contact your nearest hospital immediately,” the advisory says. In addition it states that  “this advocacy is for information only and shall be adopted in consultation with registered Ayurveda practitioners only.” 

The advisory has been criticised on social media. Multiple commentators have leveraged allegations of pseudoscience against the Ministry for their advisory. The suggestion to use homeopathy and unani remedies was also criticised by journalist Sandhya Ramesh who denounced the advisory as “irresponsible, dangerous pseudoscientific quackery mixed in with generic personal hygiene recommendations.” 

This is not the first instance in recent weeks of the alternative medicine community interjecting into the discourse surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. A Chennai, Tamil Nadu-based practitioner of Ayurvedic and siddha medicines has claimed to have developed a herbal cure for novel coronavirus. 

“In coronavirus…I am confident our medicine will be very effective,” said practitioner Thanikasalam Veni. “If the Centre and state government require then I am ready with medicine…Also, if China wants my contribution I am ready to fly immediately to Wuhan with my medicine which can cure coronavirus.” He further offered services to the World Health Organization. The efficacy of such alternative forms of medicine are widely disputed. 

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