Hindustan Times (Delhi)
Traditional south Indian medicine keeps dengue, chikungunya at bay: Study
People already use these formulations and seem to get better, so there is proof of efficacy in human beings... However, till now, there was no scientific proof of whether these work or how
DR SUJATHA SUNIL, lead author of the two papers based on the study
NEWDELHI: Two Siddha medicines, commonly used in south India can prevent the dengue virus from replicating and the chikungunya virus from entering the body, resulting in no or very mild symptoms, according to a study by scientists from New Delhi’s International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) who have proved their efficacy in the laboratory and in mice.
The findings of the study could provide a boost to the traditional system of medicine, one of several that India is trying to foster. It could also provide relief to tens of thousands of patients infected with dengue or chikungunya every year. In 2017, 1,57,220 patients in India were infected and 250 died of dengue and 62,288 were infected with chikungunya.
“People already use these formulations and seem to get better, so there is proof of efficacy in human beings. In fact, the Tamil Nadu and Kerala government have also approved the use of these medicines during dengue and chikungunya outbreaks. However, till now, there was no scientific proof of whether these work or how,” said Dr Sujatha Sunil, the lead author of the two scientific papers based on the study. Dr. Sunil is the group leader of Vector Borne Diseases Group at ICGEB.
The scientists were able to show in vivo – in the test tube – that Amukkara Churanam that has Ashwagandha as its main ingredient prevents the chikungunya virus from crossing the blood-brain barrier (a semi-permeable membrane that separates the blood from the cerebrospinal fluid) and affecting the joints.