A recent advisory by the Ministry of Ayurveda,Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy (AYUSH) claimed that homeopathic tablets Arsenicum Album 30 helps in preventing COVID-19, previously called the Novel Coronavirus. While homeopathic experts supported this claim, BOOM did not find any published scientific research supporting the theory that these tablets will help in preventing the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
The Ministry of AYUSH had issued advisories with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as the Ministry of External Affairs when the outbreak was first reported in China around January 23, 2020.
The AYUSH ministry had advised unani as well as homeopathic medicines in their advisory.
Arsenicum Album 30 Prescribed As Preventive Medicines
The Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy(CCRH) met on January 28, 2020 for the 64th meeting of its Scientific Advisory Board after which they suggested methods to tackle Coronavirus. They suggested that the Arsenicum album 30 which is made with solutions of arsenic trioxide on an empty stomach for three days. This was the suggestion that the AYUSH ministry issued along with a few unani, and ayurvedic medicines.
BOOM had then debunked all the claims related to the virus in the advisory as the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that research is still ongoing for the prevention and treatment of this novel strain. The WHO has stated that maintaining personal hygience by washing hands with soap and water or alcohol based hand rubs and sanitizers, avoiding raw food, not being in close proximity of people with cough and cold are ways to keep the virus away.
After a positive case was declared in Telangana on March 2, 2020, the Telangana Government was distributing arsenicum album 30 tablets as preventive mechanisms as prescribed by the ministry.
BOOM received images of the tablets with the AYUSH ministry notification on its WhatsApp helpline for verifying its veracity.
What do experts say?
India follows various schools of medicines for treatment. The three most prominent ones are allopathy, ayurveda, and homeopathy.
BOOM contacted an Ayurveda practitioner, an allopathic doctor, and a homeopathy practitioner to understand how these medications work and received mixed responses from all the medicinal practitioners.
While the Ayurvedic practitioner. Dr. Nitin Kochar, from Mumbai stated that he would not recommend the arsenic concoction as arsenic toxicity can affect individuals differently, the allopathic doctor refrained from commenting on the effectiveness of the medicines as he did not belong to that school of medicine but stated that there is a need for scientific evidence to support a theory for treating this virus.
Dr. Om Shrivastav, Infectious Diseases Specialist, at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai explained that while he had not studied the said school of medicine, research shows that "viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics as antibiotics inhibit germ growth."
BOOM also spoke to Dr Akshay Batra, who runs the poular chain of homeopathy clinics called Dr. Batra's who opined that there is no harm in trying these medicines out. "These medicines were also used during the Japanese Encephalitis syndrome and are good prophylactic measures. These are not curative but preventive measures. One tablet for three days should be good for a month but if the viral symptoms still prevail a repetitive dose can be prescribed."
BOOM researched through popular science research engines such as WebMd, PubMed, ResearchGate, and Google Scholar but could not find any studies linking arsenicum album 30 tablets with curing any strain of Coronavirus in any research, medical or homeopathic journal.
The only study mentioning Arsenicum album 30 recommended by the Homeopathic Council was for treating neonatal diarrhoea in calves and has not been scientifically linked to curing any infections.
One of the studies also mentions in passing that these tablets use arsenic trioxide which if not diluted properly can prove to be harmful for users.
Also Read: Does Drinking Alcohol Prevent Coronavirus?
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