In the absence of a scientifically proven cure or preventive for novel coronavirus infection, should one use alternative medicine?

Certain herbs and ancient practices might help protect against COVID-19 coronavirus, or ease its symptoms, according to the Chinese government and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. But these claims come with scant scientific evidence, leaving many to wonder whether they work at all.

There have been multiple advisories from the AYUSH Ministry on COVID-19. Its long list of recommendations include Unani concoctions Sharbat Unnab and Tiryaq Arba, and the homeopathic medicine Arsenicum Album 30 for post-exposure prophylaxis for doctors and caregivers.

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In the absence of a scientifically proven cure or preventive for novel coronavirus infection, should one use alternative medicine?

This is what the World Health Organization has to say: “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines.”

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Doctors are discouraging use of drugs recommended by practitioners of alternative medicine because a drug has to be developed keeping in mind its safety and efficacy.

For hydroxychloroquine pushed by the Health Ministry, the efficacy is still being investigated — but its safety has been documented through years. No such data are available for any of the traditional ‘remedies’ on social media.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is new — and its nature is still being studied by scientists. #KhabarLive