Herbal Medicines To Treat Covid-19: What Do We Know?

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Covid-19 does not need any introduction. What would have been an unbelievable story has unfolded over the past year. With no other choice, the world is braving through! While the governments are imposing restrictions such as social distancing and wearing masks, the medical community has worked tirelessly to find vaccine cure and has succeeded fairly well. We will have to wait and watch the vaccine’s efficacy as several countries start vaccination drives as we speak. Meanwhile, a few countries tried region-specific traditional herbal medicines as a remedy to Covid-19 infections caused by a strain of Coronavirus. We have compiled a significant few.

The image below mentions a few predominant herbs said to be part of herbal formulations effective in treating Covid-19:

Infographic of herbs that are part of herbal medicine formulations effective in treating Coronavirus disease (Covid-19)

Herbal Medicines To Treat Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – A Compilation

In Thailand:

Recently, Thailand’s health ministry approved the use of a herbal plant extract to treat patients who are in early stages of Covid-19.

Herbal medicine with the extract of the plant Andrographis paniculata is found to improve the condition of Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms. The medication had a significant impact within three days, and without any side effects when administered to patients within 72 hours of testing positive for infection. Hence, five state-owned hospitals provide the alternative treatment plan as an option for Covid-19 patients in the 18 to 60 age groups.

In the South Indian state Tamil Nadu:

Besides, Thailand is not the only country to utilise the plant in its fight against Covid-19. In fact, several Asian traditional medicine systems have used the simple herb to treat various health issues, including viral infections. 

The below image mentions the plant Andrographis paniculata’s names in various languages:

Infographic of Andrographis paniculata's names in various languages

The health authorities of Tamil Nadu distributed herbal medicine to the general public as a preventive measure against Coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The Siddha medicine formulation called Kabasura kudineer also contains the same herb, Nilavembu aka Andrographis paniculata, as an ingredient.

In Madagascar:

Similarly, during the earlier days of pandemic (May 2020), Madagascar came up with a herbal remedy for Covid-19. Marketed as a cure for Covid-19, the herbal tea named Covid-Organics has the plant artemisia as an ingredient. Further, several African countries placed orders to procure it for their populations. Following this development, the WHO has endorsed a protocol; the protocol tests the efficacy and safety of African herbal medicines for treating Coronavirus and other pandemics. When any such medicine candidate is found effective through scientific research, the WHO has agreed to recommend it for mass-production in a fast-tracked manner.

In China:

China has also been using TCM alongside conventional treatment methods to treat Covid-19 patients. Some of the herbal formulations used in the treatment are:

  • Jinhua Qinggan Granule
  • Sheganmahuang decoction
  • Lianhuaqingwen capsule
  • Maxingshigan decoction
  • Xuebijing Injection

Furthermore, several herbal remedies such as Ginseng and Shengmai San seem to offer better recovery from the infection.

Also Read: Chinese TuiNa | Know The What, How, Benefits And Uses

In Indonesia:

Meanwhile, Indonesia has also been involved in developing their own herbal remedy for coronavirus.

The country is testing two medicines:

  1. Cordyceps militaris, a fungus common in the Himalayas; the fungus has wide use in Chinese, South Korean and Tibetan herbal medicine
  2. A herbal formulation comprising Ginger, gripeweed, Ngai camphor and not surprisingly the same herb green chiretta (Andrographis paniculata); the herb green chiretta appears to be a common ingredient in many of such herbal concoctions.

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How safe are these herbal remedies?

Some of these herbal medicines have indeed come under fire for having been used to treat Covid-19 without proper assessment. On the other hand, proponents of such herbal remedies feel that the ingredients used have been a part of the traditional medicine systems for centuries and so, vouch for their safety and efficacy, in tackling coronavirus like infections. 

Since these medicines are used in specific regions, more information concerning the ingredients, preparation methods, and the impact on using those on the local populations either for therapeutic or preventive measures are not widely available. 

The Takeaway

A cure for Covid-19, be it of contemporary or traditional medicine, can be a nothing less than a boon to the entire world. Though vaccines are becoming available, experts say that it is not a silver bullet that we can bite to make coronavirus disappear. A cure is a great weapon to have in our arsenal for our combined fight against this all too clever virus. So, let us hope and watch out for significant developments in this regard!

Note: We shall be updating this article if any further information becomes available regarding these herbal remedies for covid-19.

Images from canva.com

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