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Covid-19: India, UK to Conduct Trials on Ashwagandha for Recovery From Virus

AYUSH Ministry to conduct a survey on whether Ashwagandha cane help recover from Covid-19 (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The Ayush ministry is going to collaborate with the United Kingdom’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to conduct a survey on whether Ashwagandha helps in recovery from Covid-19. The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH, and LSHTM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and will conduct trials in Leicester, Birmingham, and London (Southall and Wembley), the ministry said in a statement.

Ashwagandha also known as Indian winter cherry is a herb that helps in strengthening the immune system and reduces tension and stress.

The ministry hopes that if the trial is successful it will boost the image of India’s traditional medicine across the world.

“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,” AIIA Director Dr Tanuja Manoj Nesari said in the statement.

In the study, 100 participants will be administered Ashwangandh while the second group of 1,000 [people will be administered a placebo.

It will be a double-blind trial with both the doctors and patients being unaware of which group is being administered Ashwagandha and which group is being administered a placebo.

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.

It took over 100 meetings spanning about 16 months through both diplomatic as well as regulatory channels for signing of the MoU, Dr Nesari said.

She added that the study has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and certified by WHO-GMP.

It is being conducted and monitored as per the internationally recognized GCP (Good Clinical Practices) guidelines, she added.

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Recently, a number of randomized placebo-controlled trials of Ashwagandha in humans in India have demonstrated its efficacy in reducing anxiety and stress, improving muscle strength, and reducing symptoms of fatigue in patients treated for chronic conditions.

It has also been indicated for treating non-restorative sleep, a hallmark of chronic fatigue, for which the trials are currently ongoing, the statement said.

With inputs from PTI

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