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Wednesday Jan 29 2020

India says Ayurveda, yoga could be answer for coronavirus

A hotel employee takes the temperature of a person that just arrived at the premise in Wuhan. Photo: AFP 

NEW DELHI: As scientists rush to find a cure for the deadly coronavirus, the Indian government on Wednesday said that the answer could be found in ancient homeopathy and Ayurveda remedies.

The Indian ministry which promotes the country's booming Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy and homeopathy sectors released an advisory listing herbal oils to be rubbed into the scalp to purportedly ease the symptoms.

It also suggested ingesting Arsenicum album-30, a homeopathic treatment.

"The dose should be repeated after one month by following the same schedule in case coronavirus infections prevail," the ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy) said in a statement

The ministry also issued general advice on maintaining personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.

The advisory came as the Dalai Lama, in exile in Dharamsala in India, said on Facebook that followers concerned about the virus should chant a mantra that would be "helpful" in dealing with the situation.

Read more: Australian scientists have 'game changer' in fight against coronavirus

India claims to have natural remedies for everything from cancer to the common cold.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev (left) raise their hands as they chant patriotic slogans during a Yoga festival in New Delhi on March 23, 2014.—REUTERS/File Photo

The government in recent years has launched a drive to promote traditional remedies as it seeks to cash in on the multi-billion dollar global market for holistic medicine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a yoga practitioner, has said he wants the world to make Ayurveda "a way of life".

Ayurvedic medicine — which means the "science of life" in Sanskrit — treats the physical and mental sources of illness through, for example, prescribing herbs in conjunction with yoga or massage.

The ministry said that homeopathy, the treatment of diseases with alternative medicines prescribed in minute doses, is the main source of healthcare for some 10 percent of India's 1.3-billion population.

The Unani system is a mix of traditional medicines from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other Middle East countries, according to the ministry.

Apart from the recommended Ayurvedic, homeopathy and Unani treatments, the ministry also advised Indians who fear they have been infected to "wear a mask and contact your nearest hospital immediately".

New Delhi family physician Sanjiv Zutshi told AFP the recommended course of action for patients suspected of having the virus was for them to be tested and treated in hospital.

No cases of the virus have been reported in India.