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AYUSH: A Drive towards Self-Sufficiency in Herbal Medicine

AYUSH: A Drive towards Self-Sufficiency in Herbal Medicine

We are living amid the most unprecedented humanitarian crisis in medical ethics history, a catastrophe which a generation of human beings has seldom encountered in their lives- Covid 19. A Pandemic, spread by the highly contracting Coronavirus, a rapidly regenerative virus that changes its pattern and becomes very difficult to analyze. It attacks the lungs and the associated pulmonary organs causing respiratory syndromes and affecting the immune system of the body directly.

Almost all major countries in the world have contracted this virus, with an exponential spread that is still surging and is seemingly impossible to stop at the moment. Scientists, Genetic Engineers, and Infectious Diseases Experts all across the world are working day in and day out to find a cure for this virus.

Every country has sanctioned the clinical trials taking place in the specialized laboratory institutes set up to find a vaccine for this contracting virus. India, which is considered to be a hotspot for this virus has been working in collaboration with top pharmaceutical institutes across the world and is seeking to find a remedy and cure to this virus. Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India have been the two major proponents who have been instrumental behind this vaccine drive that is expected to yield a fair result at the end of this year.

One of the leading companies Dabur marked a 400 percent of hike in demand for Dabur Chyawanprash and 80 percent traction for Dabur Honey in the early months of the lockdown.

Indian doctors mostly prefer azithromycin and Hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid patients. The experiment has not yielded appropriate results as both these medicines have been discarded from the prospective lists of a cure for the virus. Thus, the Indian scientists have resorted to African herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicinal components to extract them and make necessary medicines that could be administered to critically ill Covid patients.

AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) Ministry, a body that is given the responsibility to identify the selected medicinal plants has worked tirelessly to discover herbal components that can be put to use. However, some of the following guidelines or steps must be followed and maintained to maintain the efficacy of the herbal component extracted-

Adequate Evidence to support the usage of the products

There are many companies in the market producing herbal products and encouraging consumers to buy those products because they can act as a quick remedy to this form of the virus. However, every consumer should be aware of the certifications and trademarks provided by the Food and Drug Authorities in the country which mandates that a particular vaccine or medicinal product should pass the necessary guidelines before it can be considered a viable option for the consumers.

Thus, the main aim of the company should be to back their products with adequate certifications and trademark labels indicating the manufacture date and the chemical composition of the vaccine.

Product Pricing and Procurement

Another important factor that determines whether the herbal or medicinal product can be administered to affected human beings is the price at which it is being sold. If the price conditions are extremely high, then only a select group of consumers would be interested in buying it, which in turn would make it a luxury commodity.

With decreasing propensity to consume that particular herbal product, there would be a problem of oversupply which will become difficult to compensate. Procuring the herbal component and bringing it to the market and the consumer's knowledge would be equally crucial as well. Upakarma Ayurveda has a multi-level procurement system of sourcing, ranging from DFF (Direct from Farmers), herb traders and local regional cultivators, from whom they reportedly procure export quality natural ingredients that match stringent international standards.

Emphasis on Quality

Every company and production unit should emphasise on the quality of the herbal component that is being produced and would later be used as a cure. The quality of a herbal product is determined through rigorous testing on sample solutions. Playing a quality card is extremely essential. Every raw material that is going into the process of creating the herbal component must be analyzed efficiently. The finished product must be put to use through the in-house laboratories that are created by the company with the facilities available to them.

OZiva is positioned as a ‘clean label brand’, which puts additional emphasis on sourcing the right ingredients. OZiva plays on is the claim to be India’s first ‘Clean Label Active Nutrition brand’ that offers protein blends, plant-based micronutrients, and plant nutrition for special dietary needs.

Maintaining an Innovative and Fresh Product Structure

Finally, the company can only accentuate profits and increase the profit maximization and social utility objective if the company can foray into the consumer tastes and preference pattern. A detailed study of the consumption behavior would help the company to gauge the existing mood in the market and dive deeper into the different geographics and mechanics of a particular herbal product.

Pankajakasthuri Herbals India (Pankajakasthuri), COVID-19 marked their move from clinical trials done based on the AYUSH standards for Ayurvedic products to undertaking their first trial based on the testing protocols of modern medicine, for Zingi Vir-H, a herbo-mineral drug. It is made of a blend of seven ingredients developed by Padmasree Dr. J Hareendran Nair, founder, Pankajakasthuri Herbal Research Foundation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, India must administer the use of the herbal components judiciously so that the best results can be achieved. Leading Ayurvedic companies and branches would be profiteering exponentially from this Covid surge since consumption patterns would shift from unhealthy eating habits to healthy organic foods.

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