Patanjali Ayurved is one of India's most trusted brands
Herbal medicines that claim to provide immunity from Covid-19 are being sold in primarily South Asian areas across London.
These shops are located in Wembley, Southall and other areas where Indian and South Asian shops dominate. They are selling it both in-shop and online.
The medicines are manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved, a multibillion-pound consumer goods company from India that makes herbal and mineral products.
Two of their medicines, ‘Coronil’ and ‘Swasari Vati’ are described as herbal remedies that boost the immunity against Covid-19.
However, Birmingham University together with BBC conducted several tests and found that the pills do not offer protection from the coronavirus.
According to BBC, the pills consist of plant-based ingredients that cannot help in fighting the virus.
Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar, a Lecturer in Molecular Biology in the School of Pharmacy at De Montfort University, said:
“There are lots of nuances in how our immune system responds to the virus. We do not even know that heightening immunity helps.
“It is unclear what Coronil is trying to do to the immune system.”
The manufacturers of the medicine, Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, are a big name in India and their medicines are popular for cheap prices and natural goodness.
Patanjali Ayurved is one of India’s most trusted brands. It ranks first in FMCG category.
Ramdev and Balkrishna claim their medicines protect against “respiratory tract infections”.
While the UK has stringent laws when it comes to such medicines, India permits the sale of these products.
Sindhu Vithanala, a south Indian student in London, says:
“In India, home and natural remedies are given more importance over chemical drugs.”
“People believe in Ayurveda and natural cure and that’s why they tend to buy such medicines. My mother also uses them.
“Some Patanjali products are really good. But others, like their anti-hair fall shampoo, aren’t as effective as they claim to be.”
There have been various reports around the world that scientists still don’t know how to influence the immune system even if the supplement products say otherwise.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK, doesn’t have any registered claims for any product that can treat Covid-19 or boost the immunity.
Such products, if produced, need to get a license from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK.
After hearing about ‘Coronil’, the MHRA told the BBC:
“Appropriate action will be taken where any unauthorised medicinal product is offered or sold on the UK market.”
Baba Ramdev had stated in June that Coronil had cured many Covid-19 patients.
Ramdev had said:
“Our medicine resulted in 69% of coronavirus patients testing negative after three days and 100% after seven days.”
After his statements, the Indian government issued him a warning in June 2020.
They told Ramdev that he could market his medicine only as an immunity booster, not as an antidote to Covid-19.
Patanjali Ayurved later withdrew their claims that Coronil could cure Coronavirus.
Ramdev and Balkrishna founded Patanjali Ayurved Limited in 2006.
They maintain their aim is to practice the science of Ayurveda by merging ancient wisdom and technology.
Despite the popularity of Ayurvedic medicine, it is important that a doctor is consulted before they are used. Especially, if you are on prescribed medication.
Because if there is no formal regulation of medicines you can obtain without medical prescriptions, it is unclear what they contain or what side effects they might have.