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Turning to alternative medicine

Homoeopathy, naturopathy preferred to ward off H1N1

NUMBED by the rising H1N1 Influenza cases, people are increasingly turning towards alternative medicines from Homoeopathy and Indian Systems of Medicine, both for curative and preventive options. But are they really effective?

The Karnataka State Council for Indian Medicine (KSCIM) has reportedly approached the State Health Department to work on effective preventive drugs. KSCIM president, Dr Mohammed Rafi H Hakeem said, “Ayurvedic medicines focus on prevention. In fact, people are in a panic because they don’t know whether there is a preventive medicine for the H1N1 virus. Hence, Ayurveda concentrates on immunity development.”

However, he lamented that there was no research being done on this line of medicine in the state. “Even if someone does some research, getting a sanction from the Government takes months,” he said.

Dr Satish Padmanabhan, a homoeopathic doctor from VcNally Homoeopathic Pharmacy, claimed that Influenzium 200 was a preventive medicine for various strains of influenza virus. But this drug has not been tried specifically against the H1N1 strain.

“It has been administered during various influenza outbreaks in the past. It helps build resistance and is safe and natural,” he said.

While Dr Veerabrahmachary,  president of Karnataka Board of Homoeopathy System of Medicine (KBHSM) acknowledged that Influenzium 200 was a match to the H1N1 influenza symptom, he also talked about another match called Arsenicalb 200.

“Homoeopathy discipline follows the principle – what is curative is preventive. So we treat according to the symptoms,” he said. As for the patients coming for treatment, he said,

“Earlier, I used to treat 20 to 30 patients a day but in the last one week the patient flow has increased by 30 to 40 percent. In fact, this is the case with many of my other colleagues too.”

Drugs stocked
Another Homoeopathic store Mahaveer Ayur and Homoeo, opposite Lady Curzon and Bowring Hospital, had stocked medicines claiming they were preventive.

Suresh Shottam, who has been a naturopath for over 15 years, said that as people are in sheer panic, he has been getting at least 50 calls a day from different parts of the country. He said, “Many naturopaths are prescribing immune boosting medicines as there is a feeling that a strong immune system will ward off any kind of virus. However, this is only partially correct. Apart from this, people should also take anti-viral medicines. If both are taken together it will not only minimise damage but also decrease the viral load and allow the immune system to fight the virus.”

(Published in Deccan Herald on 2009)

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