Thailand’s health ministry approves use of herbal treatment for early stages of COVID

The program was approved after a spike in case numbers
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Thailand’s health ministry has approved a pilot program to administer a herbal plant extract to treat early stages and minor symptoms of COVID-19, Bloomberg reported. The health ministry said that extracts from andrographis paniculata, or green chiretta, can hinder the pathogen and alleviate inflammation.

The green chiretta treatment will provide a cost-effective alternative to conventional COVID-19 treatments to help curb the viral spread, the ministry said in a statement.

The voluntary herbal treatment will be given to patients in the 18- 60 age group within 72 hours of testing positive for COVID-19. Human trials have indicated that taking the herbal remedy within the three-day timeframe can improve patient conditions without side effects.

Green chiretta has been clinically used for antiviral therapy and inflammatory ailments, according to a scientific study by several Taiwanese universities published on December 10, 2020. Given the volatile development of “vaccines,” the authors consider different avenues for treatment, including “utilization of old drugs or available medicine.”

The study stated that the green chiretta extract andrographolide “inhibits enzyme activity of 2019-nCoV and SARS-CoV main proteases.”

Green chiretta is a staple in traditional medicines, including Ayurvedic and Chinese modalities. According to Gaia Herbs, the plant is used as an immune supporter and alterative to facilitate detoxification in Ayurvedic remedies. In traditional Chinese medicine, green chiretta is thought to enter the channels of the lungs and digestive organs to “dry dampness” and “clear heat.”

According to Gaia Herbs, studies also showed that andrographolide promotes healthy immune response through modulating levels of immune cells in the blood. The green chiretta-derived compound also has anti-inflammatory properties, as PubChem noted.  

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