Kerala

Use of ayurvedic powder for COVID-19 fumigation in Kerala kicks off debate

Alappuzha Municipality in Kerala recently got flak for its suggestion to use an ayurvedic powder for fumigation to contain COVID-19 spread. Now, popular science activists and Ayurveda practitioners are engaged in a debate over the efficacy and scientific validity of that powder even as one more grama panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district has conducted a similar event.

The civic body in Alappuzha had urged all the 50,000 households in its jurisdiction to observe ‘Dhooma Sandhya’ at 6.30 p.m. on May 8 by fumigating their surroundings with the smoke generated from burning ‘aparajita dhooma choornam’. The municipality had earlier distributed packets of the powder to residents for free as part of COVID-19 prevention. “Aparajitha dhooma choornam could prevent all airborne infectious diseases. It is antibacterial and antiviral,” a notice had said. The Malayinkeezhu grama panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram too followed suit a couple of days later.

When popular science organisations such as the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) pointed out the lack of scientific basis for this activity, Ayurveda practitioners retorted saying that two studies had been conducted to prove its efficacy. They claimed that the results of one of them was published in the journal Ancient Science of Life in 2007. In the study, ‘aparajitha dhooma choornam’ was used as a fumigation powder for creating an aseptic condition in the critical areas of production and filling in the factory of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore.

Another study was conducted by a 13-member team led by P.R. Salaja Kumari, District Medical Officer (Ayurveda); N.V. Sreevals, District Programme Manager, National Ayush Mission; and Jose T. Pykada, Senior Specialist Medical Officer, on the suggestion of Thrissur District Collector S. Shanavas. Sumita Santhosh, microbiologist of Sitaram Ayurveda Pharmacy, Thrissur, led the microbiology study. It had found that the fumigation powder was highly effective against micro-organisms, especially bacteria and fungi. In just a day after fumigation, there was a dip of 95% in the bacterial count and 96% in the fungal count. Within three days, 99.62% of bacteria and 98.92 % of fungi were destroyed.

Activists of the Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics (CAPSULE), a forum under the KSSP, said that the above-mentioned paper was presented for publication to the journal on November 12, 2006. It was accepted on December 24, in just 43 days. They claimed that Ancient Science of Life was an in-house publication of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy and their corporate social responsibility initiative. Those who held the study were the firm’s employees. Details of the study are vague as well. CAPSULE functionaries said that there were only media reports about the second study, which was devoid of any scientific explanation.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:24:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/use-of-ayurvedic-powder-for-covid-19-fumigation-in-kerala-kicks-off-debate/article34534455.ece

Next Story