Authorities in the Indian state of Maharashtra were today (May 19) distributing unproven Ayurvedic medicines to the public as "immunity boosters" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The herbal medicines and tonics were handed out for free by The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in India from COVID-19 with 5.43 million cases and close to 84 thousand deaths. The Indian Medical Association has come out strongly against Ayurvedic medicine. "[Indian gov't support for Ayurveda as treatment] is a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs," the association said in a statement. Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in India where around 80 per cent of the population report using it.
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