Chyawanprash is an ayurvedic herbal supplement commonly consumed in India. It has a fruit jam-like consistency and contains more than 41 ayurvedic herbs that are said to stimulate the immune system. The ingredients include the Indian gooseberry – a rich source of vitamin C, brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), and gokshura (tribulus terrestris).
Dabur India is a market leader in the category and enjoys more than 60% of the market share. Other companies producing chyawanprash include Himalaya Wellness, Baidyanath, and Emami Group.
Led by Dr Pawankumar Godatwar, the dean of research at the National Institute of Ayurveda, the multi-centre, randomised, open-label, parallel trial is expected to recruit 600 healthy subjects from five to 70 years old.
In the experiment group, children aged five to 12 will take in 5 gram (half a teaspoon) of chyawanprash, while the others will consume 10 gram (one teaspoon) of chyawanprash twice daily.
After consuming chyawanprash, all subjects will need to drink 200ml of milk.
On the other hand, the placebo group will only drink 200ml of milk.
Throughout the trial period, both groups are allowed to continue their normal routine and diet.
The researchers will follow up with the subjects for three months and the incidence of COVID-19 will be assessed.
In the event that the subjects are infected, the trial will also study the severity of the infection, the incidences of hospitalisations, other infections and allergies.
According to the data on the Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI), the first subject enrolment began on May 15 and the trial will take place in five hospitals and research centres.
“Chyawanprash has been used by the forefathers when the modern medicines were not there yet. It is a traditional solution for the respiratory health, strengthening the immune system, and preventing infection used since the ancient times.
“Later, at some point in history, it reached different parts of the world and companies such as Dabur, Himalayas have done a wonderful job by taking the ancient ayurvedic traditional formula to the world market,” Sandeep Gupta, the CEO of the country’s Expert Nutraceutical Advocacy Council said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.
Last year, amid the air pollution crisis in Delhi, Dabur ran both print and online campaigns for its chyawanprash product, also promoting its immune-stimulating and antioxidant properties.
Past research has shown that chyawanprash supplementation produces an array of benefits, ranging from improving digestion, metabolism, strengthening the respiratory system, to acting as an antioxidant and immune booster.
Last year, a review on chyawanprash published in Biomolecules reported that children aged five to 12 had shown improvement in immunity, energy levels, physical strength, and vigour after taking 6 grams of chyawanprash twice per day for six months.
While the formula is said to have produced multiple health benefits, the researchers cautioned that studies on its mechanisms of actions were still lacking.
“Reported evidence supports its multifaceted preventive, promotive, and curative health benefits; proving it to be an ancient elixir with a modern cure. However, mechanistic studies and sufficient clinical reports are still lacking,” the researchers said.
“There is a requirement of controlled experiments on the effect of the main active compounds and their synergistic or antagonistic effect in order to clarify their mechanism of action,” they concluded.
Chyawanprash: A traditional Indian Bioactive Health supplement
Authors: Rohit Sharma, et al