As cases of the Wuhan virus “Covid-19” infections rise Thai people queuing up to buy the traditional medicinals in the hope it will protect them from contracting the virus. Despite the lack of scientific proof the herbs will help.
Thai are flocking to Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, a leading traditional Thai traditional medicinals centre under the Public Health department.
A large signboard outside the office, in Thai and English, lists “4 anti-viral properties of andrographis aks green chireta”; it prevents the virus entering cells; reduces virus cell division; boosts immunity, and ameliorates lung inflammation from viral infection.
Thai traditional medicinals to fight Covid-19
Nuanla-or Chantramit, a hospital official responsible for advising people about herbal drugs, said more customers have been coming in to buy the medication over the last month.
Those suffering from a sore throat and ague are advised to take fa talai jone three times a day. They should see a doctor if they do not recover, Ms Nuanla-or said.
Rungwithaya Tangkhaprasert, said she bought bottles of the tablets for distribution to employees.
Dr Supaporn Pitiporn, chairwoman of the Thai traditional and herbal medicine strategic committee of the hospital, said in a telephone interview that the hospital would soon distribute andrographis seeds to people to grow the plant themselves.
However, a doctor at the hospital earlier threw cold water on covid-19-linked claims made about the herb.
“There is no research which confirms that the plant can protect or relieve symptoms from Covid-19” Dr Pakakrong Kwankao at Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, said.
Dr Richard Brown, program manager for Health Emergencies and Antimicrobial Resistance at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Thailand, says that there is no evidence that the herb is an effective remedy for covid-19.
“We think this is not correct. Information from WHO does not mention the use of Herba Andrographidis for this purpose,” he said.
Hospital prepares for possible stage 3
Meanwhile, in expectation that Covid-19 spread would soon reach the third stage, Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital has stepped up preventive measures, according to Dr Supaporn.
It requires people seeking medical services to undergo a temperature scan and wash their hands with alcohol before entering hospital buildings. All offices are cleaned with alcohol every two hours, she said.
All hospital staff are provided with face masks, she told the Bangkok Post.
The hospital has also cancelled all study trips and is providing a new service. Delivering health food on order to clients in Prachin Buri. The hospital is looking into whether any of its staff could work from home, Dr Supaporn said.
Andrographis paniculata is a herb also used in Ayurvedic medicine and known in the west as echinacea.
Echinacea is a very popular herb, and people commonly take it to help combat flu and colds. It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family – Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower.