The Covid-19 pandemic has infected millions of people across the globe. Scientists & doctors are in desperate search for a treatment for covid-19. Hydroxychloroquine provides a ray of hope in the treatment of Covid-19 patients and seems to be a game-changing drug. India is the world’s largest manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine & the whole world is looking at India for supply. The Indian history of plant-based or Natural Quinine goes back to thousands of years old.

What is Hydroxychloroquine ?

Hydroxychloroquine is an Anti-malarial drug which is a synthetic derivative of Quinine, which is an active compound of Cinchona tree. It is believed that the drug corrects how your immune system works and has therefore, also shown results in treating Auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It may also be a potential anti-viral drug. (But modern science needs more Clinical Trials to prove its efficacy)

History of Quinine

When Britishers came to India they were exposed to the marshy lands & harsh Indian conditions with presence of a lot of mosquitos. A majority of the British army and officers started suffering from Malaria. However, most of the local Indian population were immune to Malaria due to their food habits and acquired immunity due to environmental factors.

Quinine is the first anti-malarial drug which was extracted from the bark of the Cinchona trees found in Peru, which was traditionally used for various ailments and it had strong bitter taste. Quinine was discovered by a Spanish scientist and became popular in Europe. This malaria crisis among British Army came at an opportune time, and thus Quinine was imported in bulk by the Army and distributed to all their soldiers, who were instructed to take regular dosages (even to healthy soldiers) so that they could build immunity. This was followed up in all other British stations throughout India, because every region in India had malaria problem to some extent.

Quinine was considered as health tonic and the British army consumed it Juniper based liquor called Gin to curtail the bitterness of Quinine. This is how the cocktail “Gin & Tonic” came into picture and was widely prescribed by doctors as well.

Britishers started promoting farming of the Quinine tree all over India and found that a similar ayurvedic plant “Kalmegh” possess similar medicinal properties and bitterness. Kalmegh was popularly known as Quinine substitute in England.

What is Kalmegh ?

Kalmegh (Swertia Chirata or Andrographis paniculata) is one of the most bitter plants in Ayurveda medicine grown all over India also known as “King of Bitters”. It is natural and various research study says it has anti-malarial properties similar to Quinine. It is a natural immunity-booster and good immunity is important to combat any infection.

It acts as a Deepan & Pachan (digestive stimulant), Rakta shodhak (blood purifier), reduced inflammation, hepatoprotective & improves liver functions, laxative, a part of this Kalmegh acts on upper respiratory and metabolic disorders. A study published in 2017 proves that Kalmegh is beneficial for relieving symptoms of Acute Upper Respiratory tract infections.  Studies also show that Kalmegh extracts are anti-microbial, anti-helminthic, anti-diabetic and improves digestive flora.

How do I use it to boost my immunity during the outbreak of Covid-19 ?

Kalmegh i.e Swertia Chirata is one of the active ingredients of Herbostra Bitters. Herbostra Bitters has a characteristic Bittersweet flavour. While the most popular Bitters found in the market contains alcohol, Herbostra Bitters are non-alcoholic.  Regular use of Herbostra Bitters in your diet will help to strengthen your immunity to fight against any infection. It has a general tonic effect which stimulates muscles and improves circulation to abdominal organs. It also improves nutrient absorbability and should be treated as part of the diet and not medicine.

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