To date, a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, doctors have an idea of what to expect. Viral pneumonia. Blood clots.
The second hidden epidemic of ‘Long Covid’
. But there is a second-rate effect that has crept quietly and insidiously through the cracks, hidden among countless such cases brought to hospital: liver injuries.
The increasingly unlimited, over-the-counter consumption of ‘immunity-boosting’ Ayurvedic herbs as protection against Covid is wreaking havoc on the liver, the organ which is essentially a toxin-processing factory in the body.
In the two main hospitals in Mumbai, Apollo and Jaslok, among all the cases of liver damage, his elder
A hepatologist is a specialist in the branch of medicine called hepatology, which involves the study of parts of the body such as the liver, gall tree, gallbladder, and pancreas. A hepatologist manages disorders in these areas.
Aabha Nagral handled during the pandemic, more than 10 patients were diagnosed with liver damage induced by herbal drugs. One of them was a 20-year-old who had used over-the-counter Ayurvedic medicines for three to four months. He was showing classic signs of jaundice and his bilirubin levels were through the roof – almost 20 times normal. Nagral has ruled out viral sources that could have caused him an infection. He was also not obese or alcoholic.
“During the pandemic year, we received at least six cases of
Tinospora cordifolia (common names gurjo, heart-leaved moonseed, guduchi or giloy) is a herbaceous liana of the Menispermaceae family native to the tropical regions of the Indian subcontinent
– induced hepatic injury, ”said Arvinder Soin The Ken. Soin, a surgeon specializing in liver transplantation, is the president of the Center for Liver Transplantation at Medanta-The Medicity Hospital in Gurugram.
Of the nearly 300 cases of liver failure that the Center sees in a year, up to 15 can be attributed to liver injury induced by Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine (AHM) or Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) . “Two of the six cases we saw in 2020 reached end-stage liver failure but were unable to receive a liver transplant. The others are recovering slowly, ”explains Soin.
According to data from the Ministry of
Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy
, nearly 677 suspected adverse drug reactions were reported between January 2019 and February 2021.