This year’s World Ayurveda Day, which falls on November 13, was marked in India under the theme of “Ayurveda for Covid-19” and there was a strong reason behind that.
Chyawanprash sales almost quadrupled in the second quarter of this year, which marked the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and demand for this age-old Ayurvedic herbal mix to boost immunity and maintain wellbeing soared in India as the country battles the deadly virus.
The government department for traditional Indian medical systems, Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), has issued an advisory notice recommending adults to consume a 10g dose of Chyawanprash each morning to boost the population’s immunity. in light of the pandemic.
A number of state governments in India, including Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Manipur, have also started distributing Chyawanprash to local residents, key workers, and post-exposure asymptomatic patients.
And the results are there to see. Chyawanprash sales across the industry increased by 283 per cent between April and June, Nielsen Holdings Plc’s latest India CPG, FMCG & Retail report shows. Indian pharmaceutical company Dabur reported that sales of its Chyawanprash products increased by 700 per cent over the same period.
Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic herbal blend used by many Indians as a daily health supplement. Its main ingredient is amla (Indian gooseberry), which is rich in Vitamin C. It also contains a number of other common herbs such as ghee. Consumers can buy pre-packaged paste from retailers or prepare it at home.
“Chyawanprash helps to strengthen the respiratory system and improves the immunity. It is useful in management of allergic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, common cold, and tuberculosis,” says Dr Sadhana Misar Wajpeyi of the Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College, Hospital & Research Centre in Maharashtra, India.
A number of clinical trials have shown that daily consumption of Chyawanprash improves immunity and other health markers among adults and children. A 2014 randomised, controlled trial of Dabur’s flagship Chyawanprash product found that patients who took a 500 ug/ml daily dose produced more than five times as much cytokine from dendritic cells, a key marker of immune system strength, than the control group.
But different manufacturers and households across India follow different recipes so the findings of these clinical trials may not apply in every case.
by Snehal Shah
Snehal Shah is a science journalist who has recently conducted first-of-its-kind primary research into the regulation of Ayurveda in the UK. Her book ‘Dissecting Ayurveda’, published by Tattva Press.