I am among the few in my eco-system who has chosen not to vaccinate. No, I am not against the government. I am not an anti-vaxxer (which in U.S usually refers to someone who feel vaccines are an infringement of their human rights). I do not also live in a cave, isolated from others to prevent an infection. In fact, I am a Covid-19 volunteer.
I have most likely been positive in both the first wave and second wave, given that I am regularly in touch with Covid-19 positive patients in hospitals and home quarantine. During both phases of Covid-19, I had very mild symptoms, almost asymptomatic, went into self-quarantine, stayed away from non-positive people (I was able to continue working from home and volunteering for those who were positive even as I developed few mild symptoms), and recovered with ease and without post-covid afflictions. Since I am not an anti-masker (I am sure that must be a word by now), you will always find me wearing a mask in public and maintaining all government protocols. But that’s just so that others don’t freak out.
The reason I did not vaccinate is because I never felt the need for it. If vaccination is meant to develop immunity to fight Covid-19, there are time-tested more effective ways of achieving this goal without harmful side-effects. Yes, I am referring to AYUSH systems. As an individual, I know a bit about how to pick up signs early on, how to build one’s immunity naturally, how to rely on and use AYUSH systems, and therefore, do not feel the need to vaccinate to deal with Covid-19. Also, I have not put anything allopathic into my system for 5-6 years and don’t feel like breaking the trend now just because the majority are scared and do not know any better. I am not the only one who refuses to vaccinate because they do not need to. There are a few others like me, content to keep their methods to themselves and not attract negative publicity, thanks to the huge societal and peer pressure to vaccinate.
Most people around us have been acting as though vaccination is the only way out of Covid-19. Yet, I am sure that you too have known those who in spite of vaccination and in spite of following all Covid-19 prevention protocols have still tested positive. In a country like India, prevention is no longer even an option. It is simply a matter of how best your body can fight it when it happens. While vaccines may or may not do that job, the age old methods of AYUSH systems can definitely help your body fight Covid-19 without any major side effects.
I am writing this to let others know that what allopathy dismisses, saying “Oh it is just an immunity booster” is the only way that can safely help one fight corona virus and all its variants with minimal distress. It doesn’t have to be this panic-stricken, fear-ridden, pocket-burning way in which we are dealing with the pandemic currently.
China’s TCM example
China is the classic example of a nation that knows this and used their Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as the first line of defence against Covid. That is why, as the rest of the world reels under Covid-19, they have successfully curtailed its spread. The published study titled “Prevention and treatment of COVID-19 using Traditional Chinese Medicine: A review” by Zhao, et. al. states in the result of their study:
“TCM is effective in preventing COVID-19, and medical staff can prevent an iatrogenic infection by taking a decoction made based on the principles of TCM. As of March 13, 2020, new cases of COVID-19 in China have decreased in number to single digits. TCM’s curative effect was outstanding, with a national participation rate of over 90%. More than 70,000 people were cured of COVID-19 and discharged from the hospital. Only approximately 10,000 patients are currently being treated, and the total treatment time is approximately 2 months.”
The Chinese government has officially recognized three TCM formulas as part of its standard therapy for Covid-19. Another recent study has shown that Qingfei Paidu soup, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) widely used to treat COVID-19, can help reduce the rate of death among hospitalized patients by half, China Daily reported Monday.
Now don’t go looking for what herbs the Chinese use and try to emulate that. In case you are not aware, China’s TCM is a borrowed version of India’s Ayurveda, and China’s popular Acupuncture is a copy of our marma-cikitsa. I have provided more information on this transfer of medical knowledge from ancient India to China, for those interested, in my book Rtu Vidya (pages 58 & 59).
As with everything Chinese, they plan to promote TCM also in a big way to the world as a scientific way of dealing with Covid-19. Meanwhile, we in India, are scratching our head not sure what to do with Baba Ramdev, what to make of Anandaih and the many other Vaidyas who have gone underground or become silent to escape a similar fate.
Warriors who history would never acknowledge
When Covid-19 first hit, I called my Ayurveda Physician Dr. Ramya Bhat (she is a licensed practitioner) to ask how she was and if she intended to close her clinic owing to the lockdown and pandemic (which was understandable). She said “I have full faith in my system of medicine. I can cure myself and anyone who comes to me. I cannot keep my clinic closed when people need me. I am a family physician to many.” She barely wore a mask whenever I met her, and when she did, I suspect that like me, it was for the sake of others. She did not have to take a single day off during both the pandemic waves, never even got a fever in the last one year, and her small clinic remains open each day from 6 am to 8 pm. It goes without saying that she had people who were positive and came to her with symptoms. She never asked them to go get tested. She was able to help every one of them handle their symptoms and recover without side-effects. In fact, many times she helped patients recover from the side-effects of allopathic treatment.
I couldn’t help contrast this with the practitioners of allopathy who covered themselves head-to-toe in plastic and made videos crying, expressing their helplessness and frightening the hell out of ordinary citizens. As many of them admitted, they were clueless on how to handle the pandemic and were constantly in a mode of fire-fighting (they still are). Let me be clear that I am not questioning the sincerity or integrity of allopathy doctors – they are the product of their system of medicine which does not know any better, and their fear is the result of what their system teaches them.
My Ayurveda physician was not the only true warrior who history will never recognize, but others like her, in cities, towns and villages across India have done tremendous work to handle Covid-19 quietly, especially during the first wave. Several of such practitioners, did their Seva free of cost or at a small consultation fee – an amount which is nowhere near the mind-boggling hospital bills. Their influence in the community changed when the government started to actively discourage our own native methods, thanks to bodies like ICMR and IMA, with the backing of popular media. Before the vaccine, more people took to these methods and built their immunity to fight Covid-19. That is one of the reasons why the first wave was not so bad in India – because the vaccine was not here yet and people relied on building immunity.
Make no mistake, the second wave of the pandemic and its mishandling in India is not the failure of a healthcare system. It is the utter failure of an arrogant system of healthcare called allopathy.
Allopathy and the mess it is creating, yet going unquestioned
Since I have been working closely on-ground on Covid-19 prevention and treatment through AYUSH systems, I distinctly remember how the cases suddenly shot up soon after the vaccine was introduced towards the end of 2020. At the same time, most people started ignoring the advice of AYUSH practitioners and native knowledge systems and assumed that the vaccine would suffice. Immunity boosters were brushed aside because the vaccine was here. And that is when the downfall started.
I have seen people testing positive after both shots of the vaccine. I have known people who went into cardiac arrest and passed away after both shots of the vaccine. I have known people who turned diabetic for the first time, developed thrombosis (blood clots), developed heart issues, have strange aches and pains even weeks after the vaccination. Youngsters who have recovered from Covid-19 are left with no energy or enthusiasm for even simple activities. People’s sleep patterns have altered, their mind and thinking is fuzzy and even day-to-day simple work is leaving them exhausted. The commonality among all these cases is that they all rejected AYUSH systems and took only the vaccine and/or allopathy treatment. Those who tested positive were prescribed anywhere between 7 to 10 allopathic drugs. The number increased if they were hospitalized (as many of you surely know).
On the other hand, those of us (a minority, really) who have intuitively stuck to “immunity boosters” of Ayurveda, Homeopathy or Siddha and included Yoga as a daily routine, have found ourselves the same or even refreshed and more energetic during the lockdown. This is due to the positive effect of the immunity boosters. Even when we did get infected, it was largely asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic.
This is just what I have seen and experienced first-hand. Yes, yes, it would be wonderful to see population studies which will reveal this in a manner which is acceptable to those who ask for “scientific evidence”. But you and I both know that such a work will not see the light of day anytime soon. However, if you just spoke to some 50 people you know who have been through allopathy treatment for Covid-19, you will know what I am talking about. Most of us are aware of how dangerous infections like mucormycosis (Black Fungus) are mainly due to excess use of steroids or other immune-suppressant medicines prescribed in allopathy. And many of us know at least one person who died, not due to Covid-19 per se, but due to multiple organ failure thanks to the aggressive steroid treatment.
The ex-ICMR scientist and epidemiologist Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar said that the growing use of plasma and remedesivir use will help Covid virus mutate and become stronger. The Director of AIIMS Dr. Randeep Guleria spoke about how Remdesivir is not a magic bullet and should not be used wrongly. He said
“If given early before your saturation (O2) falls, it has harmful effect. COVID patients who got steroids early had higher mortality than those who didn’t. It is of no use if steroids are given on day 1. They are useful only in moderate to severe illness when oxygen saturation is falling,”
And yet, don’t many of us know patients, perhaps loved ones who we lost, who were given steroids beyond the prescribed duration? Who should take responsibility for the deaths that happened due to such wrong treatment?
While the media and allopathy medical associations jump at any AYUSH person who dares to say that they have a solution for dealing with Covid-19, there is no one to question allopathy’s many mistakes in handling the pandemic. Allopathy in India is a system that is openly experimenting at the expense of the common man, but not a word is raised against them. It is as though even our mind and intellect has been numbed as one of the many side-effects of allopathy.
What do you mean ‘It is just an immunity booster’?
Be it Baba Ramdev’s medicine, Anandaiah’s cure or even the AYUSH approved medicines called AYUSH 64 and Sidda’s Kabasura Kudineer, ICMR has not allowed any of these to be termed as remedies or medicines for treatment of Covid-19. They have strictly said that all these are ‘only immunity boosters’.
Why is anyone not questioning ICMR as to how one should go about safely fighting an infection like Covid-19 without building the body’s natural immunity? Is it not true that immune-suppression through allopathy drugs is an important reason for the patient’s inability to fight covid induced diseases and post-covid issues?
Allopathy drugs work by suppressing the activity of the virus. When they use steroids for prolonged duration, many organ functions also get affected. The body’s natural cleansing mechanism suffers due to the inability to flush out these synthetic drugs which it recognizes as foreign to its environment. The natural immune mechanism also gets suppressed. Allopathy treatment is continued with the hope that the virus will naturally give up after a long time of suppressing its activity. While this might work in some cases, there is no denying the many side-effects that occur due to the introduction of synthetic substances into the body, in addition to suppressing the body’s natural fighting mechanism. As a result, even those who recover are left exhausted and with post-covid afflictions due to the weakened immune system.
On the other hand, AYUSH systems do not block the virus, instead work on strengthening the body’s natural immune system, so that the body’s own soldiers can take up this battle. They do not suppress the virus, but allow it to run its course, with the least difficulty to the body. Since they are made of natural substances that the body will not reject, the worst side effects (due to improper medication if at all) in AYUSH systems are things like gastric/acidity problems due to high pitta (internal heat) or some stomach upsets as a result of body’s cleansing mechanism coming into play – all of which can be resolved through simple home remedies. At no point do AYUSH systems cause life threatening conditions like Black Fungus or multiple-organ failures leading to death. The immune system is strengthened by AYUSH methods and post-infection symptoms do not trouble such individuals.
One might argue that AYUSH systems do not “treat” Covid-19, but even allopathy has no method of treating Covid-19. Allopathy is only aimed at suppressing the effect of diseases triggered by Covid-19 virus. So what sense does it make for them to dismiss AYUSH systems saying that they are just immunity boosters? What other side-effect free way of treatment is there other than by building the natural immunity?
Why India lacks gumption
Let us be honest in admitting that AYUSH Ministry is the most name-sake Ministry there exists. They have no conviction whatsoever of what they have set out to do. They are absolutely clueless on how to handle the negative media attention every time there is an announcement of a remedy from Ayurveda, Sidda or Homeopathy that can help with Covid-19. So their best method has been to retreat into their safe cave every time something like this happens.
I remember when Covid-19 first struck, like the many 1000 plus applications that went to AYUSH Ministry from Vaidyas across India, I too carried a proposal on behalf of a physician and walked expectantly into the office of the AYUSH department head in my State. That Madam, sat behind a pile of files, no doubt from others like me, and without even looking at me mumbled “I do not know what to do with all these proposals. Just leave it on my table and go”. I did not give up easily. Since then I helped write and send at least 10 proposals bearing Covid-19 remedies from different practitioners of Ayurveda and Homeopathy, but none saw the light of day. I am not the only one to whom this happened. Many of the physicians I worked with are now so afraid (seeing what happened to Baba Ramdev, Dr. Giridhar Kaje and Anandaiah among others) that they wouldn’t want the government or media to even know that they exist. They never did it for the money or fame, and feel that it is better to continue serving people quietly, even though this greatly limits the number of people who could be benefitted had their remedies been made official, like China did for their traditional practitioners.
Why is India not investing or making efforts to understand its AYUSH systems and their effectiveness during the pandemic? Why is every effort made only to silence AYUSH systems rather than promote it? The country hasn’t blinked in spending thousands of crores on Remedesvir, other steroids, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and what not, while our investments in AYUSH is next to nothing. Why should the practitioners of AYUSH systems and the people at large suffer just because those who head our Health Ministry and approving bodies are utterly ignorant of AYUSH systems? We are, at present, completely sold-out to allopathic systems. Be it Yoga or Ayurveda, it has become nothing more than a method of Soft Diplomacy; not a way of life, and not even a mainstream system of healthcare.
The political leaders and supporters of this government have all made applause-worthy speeches of svadeshi, svabhasha and sva-what-not, during elections. But they themselves have been the first in line to get vaccinated and have dismissed AYUSH systems as being just immunity boosters. We could have avoided the massive economic loss and healthcare burden if we made bare investments in AYUSH systems or even if we just backed it publicly. Such a crisis could have turned into a golden opportunity for India to take the lead in showing the way to the world through our systems of medicine. Instead, we continue to run scared just because of some bad press and ignorant approving bodies. A generation will remember that when it actually mattered, India did not trust her own indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge, beyond rhetoric election speeches.
What we see in India today is a complete loss of our astitva – we no longer know who we are, we have no gumption to back our indigenous scientific systems, and we are falling flat on our face in defence of a system that continues to weaken our people and burn a massive hole in the country’s pockets. Without enabling populations to build their natural immunity through systems of AYUSH, this will not be the only pandemic wave that we are unable to handle. It will occur again and again, in newer forms.
Unlike the West, we have the massive advantage of several native systems and practitioners who can help us curtail this problem with least effort and monetary investment. The only question is if we have the sense and courage to look within for answers. It reminds me time and again of this Kabir’s doha I learnt in school – “कस्तूरी कुंडल बसे, मृग ढूँढत बन माहि” – a musk deer runs throughout the forest looking for the source of the fragrance, which is in fact embedded in its own navel.
What You can do
In the coming days, I will publish more information on how Ayurveda and Homeopathy works, and will also feature an interview with my Ayurveda Physician and other willing practitioners of AYUSH systems who have been treating Covid-19 patients. But you need not wait until then. In case you are not aware, a licensed practitioner of any of the AYUSH systems does not need a separate approval from ICMR or government to use existing medicines for Covid-19 treatment. The existing pharmacopeia of Ayurveda, Sidda and Homeopathy provides multiple remedies, which work very effectively and quickly as well. Just go ahead and take the help of your nearest Vaidya or Homeopathy practitioner who has a good track record, and get yourself treated for the diseases triggered by Covid-19 or even the side effects of allopathy. Also, make Yoga and Pranayama a part of your daily routine – it will do wonders to recover from Covid-19 and post-Covid symptoms.
If we wait for the Indian government to grow a spine to push AYUSH systems as the first line of treatment for Covid-19 like China has, we will probably be waiting for ages. So take matters into your own hands for yourself and your loved ones, use your Viveka Buddhi and trust the system of your ancestors. It is for times like this that our ancestors said “ धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः” – Protect Dharma and it will protect you.