Muhammad Faheem Afridi
Noor Muhamamd Khan, a septuagenarian from Peshawar had made it mandatory for his family to drink herbal tea made out of senna tree leaves or sana makki on a daily basis at the peak of the pandemic. He believed that the tea of senna leaves could guard against the Covid-19.
In the mid of 2020, when a vaccine was still far away, many herbal remedies and totkas were being suggested as cure to the deadly pathogen by the general public and circulating on social media. When some people proposed allopathic remedies for the virus, others proposed totaks and herbal brews like drink of senna leaves and ginger, lemon and honey.
However, Mr Noor, a small business owner while taking Covid-19 seriously urged his family to observe social distancing and use sanitizer. Besides, he also asked them to try the senna herbal tea and similar totkas to keep the pandemic away.
Mr Noor told TNN that the general public was to blame for the spread of the virus. He said that people in both the cities as well as villages were indifferent to the virus.
“In case both the people as well as the government had taken timely measures and followed social distancing, then the loss of over 30,000 lives could have been averted,” he said.
At the same time, the price of senna leaves also shot up due to the increased demand from the public.
Hakeem Muhamamd Rashid, who runs a pansari store in Peshawar’s historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar told TNN that it was possible to cure Covid-19 with senna leaves tea.
Mr Rahsid that at the height of the pandemic, the prices of the senna leaves had shot up to Rs 6000 per kg from Rs 600.
He said that the senna leaves were imported from India. “In Pakistan, senna leaves are produced in Sindh; however, they were inferior in quality as compared to the Indian senna,” he said.
On the other hand, information available on internet claims that the best quality senna was produced in Makkah, the holiest city of Islam.
On the other hand, senna has laxative properties and helps cleanse the body of toxins. It was believed that since the Covid-19 was also a toxin, therefore, senna leaves also cleanse it.
Senna has no effect in Covid-19
Hakeem Habibul Haq, who after his retirement from Hamdard pharmacy is running his own pharmacy in Peshawar Cantt, disagreed with Mr Rashid.
He said that senna leaves have amazing health benefits; however, to claim they cure Covid-19 was unfounded.
Mr Haq said that senna leaves were primarily good for constipation. In addition to this, they were also good in relieving muscle pain and cramps; however, using it in Covid-19 can cause harm instead of doing any good.
Besides, a report carried by the BBCUrdu quoted Dr Salman Ayaz, at the Lahore Mayo Hospital that some Covid-19 patients’ conditions had worsened due to the use of senna leaves.
Dr Ayaz said that drinking senna leaves tea used to upset the stomach and cause diarrhea, which further exacerbates the conditions of a patient already suffering from lack of required nutrients. In addition to this, the human body reacts to every medicine in a unique manner; therefore, such experiments should be avoided.
Dr Zubair Bhatti, in-charge of the Lady Reading Hospital’s Covid-19 ward in charge also agreed with Dr Ayaz.
“Basically, this herb has no role in treating Covid-19,” he said. He said that these herbs and roots have minor impact in case of flu and cold and senna was slightly good in boosting human immunity. However, he added that there was evidence to support the claim that it cured Covid-19.
It is worth mentioning here that the Covid-19 has killed more than 30,000 people in Pakistan, while a total of 1.52 million cases have also been reported in the country.
A total of 1.485 million patients have recovered from Covid-19 while 432 were still in critical condition. IN addition to this, Pakistan has carried out 27 million Covid-19 tests and over 100 million doses of vaccines have also been administered. Besides, over 4.8 million people have also received their booster dose.
On the other hand, Mr Noor has breathed a sigh of relief at the reduction of Corona cases and lifting of sanctions. He said that the public should cooperate with the government to reduce the cases.
The prices of senna leaves have also returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Mr Rashid said that currently they were selling the senna leaves for Rs 600 per kilogram.