Nilavembu gets wonder drug tag
TNN | Jan 24, 2016, 06.28AM IST
CHENNAI: When the state health department offered preventive doses of the siddha preparation -nilavembu juice -to the city's flood-affected, it stirred up many modern medicine practitioners. A variety of specialists raised valid concerns on social media about the way it is prepared and dispensed, but there was a larger problem. No one was sure of its efficiency.
At state-run King Institute of Preventive medicine, doctors decided the dichotomy between traditional and modern medicine was itself false. "We thought what mat ters was science, not whether the drug was siddha, ayurveda or western," said director Dr P Gunasekaran.
At the institute's laboratory, researchers studied the efficacy of the herbal preparation against the human cell lines and found it had high anti-viral properties."Our study is yet to be published, but there have been several scientific papers on the medicinal properties of this drug. In fact it is hailed as a wonder drug because it is both preventive and curative," he said.
It exhibits anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting qualities, scientists said. Siddha doctors says that beyond its use in humans, Nilavembu, can also be used as an anti-insecticidal solution in many areas.In December, when the government announced that the nilavembu juice would be given free of cost to all, some doctors hesitated but no one prevented their patients from taking the drug.
"In fact, doctors from government siddha hospital visited several government hospitals and gave them to patients," said Dr B Muthukumar, executive committee, member, Central Council of Indian Medicine.
A major drawbacks of the preparation is its bitterness.When prepared as juice it is far less palatable than many other siddha medicines.
Doctors at the King Institute are now working with experts to see if the drug can be brought out in the form of capsules or a sweetened syrup.