COVID-19: People throng to buy Siddha drug kabasura kudineer

People wait in a queue to buy Kabasura Kudineer in Arumbakkam. Photo. K. Pichumani

People wait in a queue to buy Kabasura Kudineer in Arumbakkam. Photo. K. Pichumani   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Siddha specialists however, have cautioned against its non-prescription use

Many pharmacies selling AYUSH medicines, particularly Siddha, have been witnessing a significant turnout of people queuing up to buy kabasura kudineer in the belief that it will help keep COVID-19 at bay.

However, experts have clarified that kabasura kudineer, a Siddha drug, was only suggested to the government for possible use as a complementary drug in the treatment of COVID-19 or for those considered highly vulnerable.

Usman Kani, a resident of Vettuvankeni, who visited Indian Medical Practitioners Co-operative Pharmacy and Stores Ltd (IMPCOPS) in Adyar, was disappointed that kabasura kudineer was not available. “I was, however, suggested another drug that will help in boosting immunity,” he said.

While Usman Kani said he was going to use this as an additional precaution apart from maintaining hygiene and distancing, a few others who came to buy the drug, seemed to strongly believe, erroneously, that it would prevent COVID-19.

C. Dinesh Kumar, who runs an AYUSH pharmacy, said that he had sold 2,000 bottles of kabasura kudineer and other Siddha drugs which he termed as ‘immunity boosters’ on Monday alone. “We have run out of stock,” he said.

According to him, the demand went up following Prime Minister’s recent meeting with renowned AYUSH practitioners. Following the meeting, there were media reports and virally-circulated social media posts linking kabasura kudineer with the treatment of COVID-19.

G. Sivaraman, a Siddha practitioner and managing director of Arogya Healthcare, who attended the meeting said that kabasura kudineer was never suggested as a drug to prevent or cure COVID-19. According to him, the drug, prepared from 15 herbs and spices, has long been used in Siddha for treating pneumonia-like symptoms that lead to severe complications including respiratory issues.

He said that the suggestion made during the meeting was to use this as a complementary drug for two groups of people -- those who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to contacts or travel history and to those who are asymptomatic but have tested positive for COVID-19. “We suggested trying this and clearly documenting the outcomes that will help us further our research in using this in the future for COVID-19,” he said, adding that China has also been trying its traditional medicine in treating COVID-19.

Claiming that the drug will not have any side effects, he, however, stressed that it was not good for people to buy this over the counter and use it unnecessarily.

Highlighting that the suggestion was only made to the government to use it as a complementary drug, R. Meenakumari, Director, National Institute of Siddha, Chennai, said that people buying in huge quantity was creating a shortage of the drug for its intended use.

Kabasura kudineer is not for boosting immunity,” she said, adding that people should instead rigorously follow regular hand-washing and physical distancing as suggested by the government to prevent COVID-19.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 7:00:52 AM |

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