A day after reports surfaced that nilavembu kudineer, the herbal concoction used to prevent and cure dengue, could reduce fertility, actor Kamal Haasan took to Twitter to urge his fans not to distribute the Siddha medicine until there is proper research into it.
சரியான ஆராய்ச்சி முடிவுகள் கிடைக்கும்வரை நம் இயக்கத்தார் நிலவேம்பு விநியோகத்தில் ஈடுபடாதிருக்க கேட்டுக்கொள்கிறேன். மற்ற பணிகள் தொடரட்டும்— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) October 18, 2017
In a second tweet, Kamal pointed out that Siddha medical practitioners should have carried out research and that it was natural for medicines to have side effects. He tweeted stating, "It's not that the research should be done by allopathics. The traditionalists should also have done it. It is traditional for medicines to have side effects."
The Tamil Nadu government along with the Ayush Ministry has been promoting nilavembu kudineer, a concoction of 9 herbs for the prevention of dengue fever. The Ayush Ministry has also been promoting the Siddha medicine, observing that nilavembu kudineer is “Antipyretic (used to prevent or reduce fever), Analgesic (pain-relieving) and Anti-dengue activity proved.”
However, on Tuesday Times of India had reported that past studies have indicated that nilavembu kudineer can induce infertility. Few studies had shown that the core ingredient for the concoction – a herb named andrographis paniculate, caused sperm count in rats to reduce.
Following the report, DMK working President MK Stalin has also sought an explanation from the Tamil Nadu Health Secretary.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan had, however, played down the fertility issue. He told TNM that ‘all drugs have side effects’, including the Siddha medicine. “Every drug has side effects. We are advocating it as it has proven benefits in several countries,” Radhakrishnan said. He also pointed out that the Tamil Nadu government is recommending the concoction only under a recognised Siddha medical practitioner and said nilavembu kudineer needs to be taken under the specified doses.
Medical practitioners have also questioned the scientific evidence of the benefits of drinking nilavembu kudineer.
TN Ravisankar, President of the Indian Medical Association Tamil Nadu has urged the government to carry out scientific studies proving the benefits of the herbal concoction.“For five years, nilavembu kudineer is being used by the government. But what are its uses? We need scientific evidence for its benefits. What are its side effects? The government should carry out studies on the uses and provide scientific evidence for the same,” he told TNM.