What is Arsenicum album 30?

Context

  • A homoeopathic drug, Arsenicum album 30, has become a subject of debate after several states recommended it for prophylactic (preventive) use against Covid-19. This was after the Ministry of AYUSH listed the drug among “preventive and prophylactic simple remedies” against Covid-19.
  • The debate stems from the fact that there is no scientific evidence that the drug works against Covid-19, a fact stressed not only by medical scientists but also by some homoeopathic practitioners themselves.

About the Issue

  • Arsenicum album 30 has been recommended by the state governments in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. 
  • Even in states that have no protocol for using the drug against Covid-19, there have been reports about people flocking to homeopathic clinics to buy Arsenicum album, sometimes at triple the cost. Even local chemists have started stocking this medicine.

About the Drug

  • Arsenicum album is made by heating arsenic with distilled water, a process repeated several times over three days. The health hazards of arsenic contamination in water are well known: long-term exposure to the metal can cause skin cancer, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. The homoeopathic drug has less than 1% arsenic, said Dr Amrish Vijayakar of Predictive Homoeopathy Clinic in Mumbai.
  • “Arsenicum album is considered to correct inflammation in body. It takes care of diarrhoea, cough and cold,” he said. A small bottle with one course costs Rs 20-30.
  • Professor G Vithoulkas writes in an article published by the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy that Arsenicum album is used commonly by homeopaths to treat anxiety, restlessness, cold, ulcerations, burning pains. It is taken in powder form or as a tablet.
  • For symptom management, the letter listed Arsenicum album among various homeopathic treatments, including Bryonia alba, Rhus toxico dendron, Belladona and Gelmesium. “Homeopathy has reportedly been used for prevention during the epidemic of cholera, Spanish influenza, yellow fever, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, etc.

Source: Indian Express