New Delhi: The AYUSH Ministry has collaborated with the UK’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to conduct a study on Ashwagandha for promoting recovery from the novel coronavirus.
The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), an autonomous body under the ministry of Ayush and LSHTM recently signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct clinical trials of Ashwagandha on 2,000 people in three UK cities—Leicester, Birmingham and London (Southall and Wembley).
Ashwagandha (withania somnifera), commonly known as ‘Indian winter cherry’, is a traditional herb that boosts energy, reduces stress and makes the immune system stronger. It is an easily accessible, over-the-counter nutritional supplement in the UK and has a proven safety profile.
The successful completion of the trial can be a major breakthrough and give scientific validity to India’s traditional medicinal system. While there have been several studies on Ashwagandha to understand its benefits in various ailments, this is the first time the Ministry of AYUSH has collaborated with a foreign institution to investigate its efficacy on COVID-19 patients.
According to AIIA Director Dr Tanuja Manoj Nesari, who is also a co-investigator in the project along with Dr Rajgopalan, Coordinator – International Projects, the participants have been randomly selected. Dr Sanjay Kinra of LSHTM is the principal investigator of the study.
“For three months, one group of 1,000 participants will be administered Ashwagandha (AG) tablets while the second group of 1,000 participants will be assigned a placebo, which is indistinguishable from AG in looks and taste. Both patients and the doctors will be unaware of the group’s treatment in a double-blind trial,” Dr Nesari said in the statement.
What will happen in the trial?
- The participants will have to take the 500 mg tablets twice a day.
- A monthly follow-up of self-reported quality of life, impairment to activities of daily living, mental and physical health symptoms, supplement use and adverse events will be carried out.
After the trial’s success, Ashwagandha will be a proven medicinal treatment to prevent infection and be recognized by the scientific community worldwide.
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