Chennai: Nilavembu Kudineer is safe and effective to treat dengue and other viral fevers and one need not have any qualms in consuming this herbal concoction for immediate relief, the National Institute of Siddha (NIS) functioning under the Union Ayush ministry, here has assured. This institute plans to take up a full-fledged study for global reach of this traditional medicine.
Nilavembu kashayam has been in use for over half-a-century at Government Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai. It is one among the 32 types of internal medicines described in the Siddha system of medicine. “The nilavembu kudineer, now used for the prevention and management of dengue fever has been explained in the Siddha literatures several centuries ago. There are many research papers on nilavembu kudineer for the treatment and prevention of dengue and other viral diseases. Based on the research studies conducted by our National Institute of Siddha, 70 per cent prevention has been proven against dengue and other viral fever cases by intake of nilavembu kudineer for 5 days. It was used also to control and prevent the outbreak of chikungunya in Tamil Nadu, a few years back,” asserts Prof Dr. V. Banumathi, director, NIS, on Saturday.
This is the first time the national institute has come out in the open to endorse the Siddha preparation after a controversy on the use of nilavembu decoction erupted recently.
“Nilavembu kudineer is safe and effective for dengue,” Prof Banumathi said and stated that Dr Shanmugavelu and Dr G. D. Naidu (Siddha scholar) published the book “The Pharmacopoeia of Siddha Research Medicine” in 1973, which elaborated the research evidences about the prevention and management of dengue and other fevers caused by influenza viruses. Prof. Dr.V. Banaumathi advised the public to take nilavembu kudineer without any fear; for the prevention and management of dengue, in consultation with registered Siddha medical practitioners.
Why no largescale study on efficacy of Nilavembu Kudineer, ask experts
Further, she appealed to the public not to worry or panic about the rumours regarding the nilavembu kudineer, which she said is “safe polyherbal being used for decades without any reported adverse effect strengthened by safety studies and clinical research studies conducted in King Institute and NIS respectively.”
Research for global reach:
“Our director has plans to take up a full-fledged study as part of a national level programme so as to include this herbal concoction for treatment of dengue and viral fevers in India, besides help the global community understand and treat the people effectively,” says Dr N. J. Muthukumar, superintendent of Ayothidoss Pandither Hospital, NIS. This preparation is not something new. It is a Shastric preparation made under the guidelines of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act.
Also, as per the WHO guidelines, if any traditional herbal medicine is being continuouslyconsumed by the public for several decades, it does not require any toxic study or safety measures research, he said. To a question if there's any proposal to recommend this for treating fevers, he replied, the TN government had already issued an order in 2012 to administer nilavembu kudineer for all fevers and for chikungunya.
“The Union ministry has to take a call on this… hopefully our full-fledged study will provide a direction to the entire nation and the world as well,” he added.
Over 2,000 patients treated at OPD
The NIS, a postgraduate research institute, which is regularly conducting special OPDs on its campus and mobile medical camps in and around South Chennai and Kancheepuram districts for prevention and management of dengue through the distribution of nilavembu kashayam, has treated over 2,200 patients at its OPD. During the 2015 December deluge nilavembu kudineer was distributed to prevent the people from various infectious diseases.
For adults, the dosage recommended is 30 - 60 ml of freshly prepared concoction and for children 5 - 20 ml, twice a day before meals for 3 to 5 days in lukewarm state, in consultation with a qualified Siddha practitioners.
Plea for ICMR’s intervention
Wondering why the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has not taken up a study on the efficacy of nilavembu kashayam, Dr V. Pugazhenthi of Doctors for Safe Environment (Dose) said even now it is not too late. The ICMR could be persuaded to take up this study.
“As dengue is a notifiable disease, with major episodes of worst affliction, the government should have conducted the chemical study after identifying all parameters. If it's a mutated virus, as in the case of swine flu, it is not wrong to conduct a molecular study. My point is that, without going into the controversy, I would say, even Siddha doctors and Allopaths could be involved in this for the betterment of humanity,” Dr Pugazhenthi who had been raising his voice for Siddha doctors, says.
Contending that there has not been sufficient studies to warrant the introduction of this Siddha drug combination, Dr Ramesh of Dose, says it is wrong to introduce a particular treatment modality when results were inconclusive. He argued that a large-scale chemical study should be taken up to ascertain the efficacy of Nilavembu kudineer in controlling this virus strain. Already we had the swine flu virus which got mutated and it was found that Tamiflu did not work on it, he cited as a reason....