Apparently. the Cabinet of Thailand has approved the use of green chiretta herb or Andrographis Paniculate (Fah Talai Jone) for the prevention and treatment of COVID following a successful trial conducted by the Corrections Department with infected inmates in Chian Mai Central Prison presenting mild symptoms.
Previously the Health Ministry approved the use of the herbal plant extract to treat early stages as a pilot program amid flareups to serve as an alternative treatment to help reduce the severity of the outbreak and potential to cut treatment costs being initially made available in 5 state-owned hospitals. In this voluntary pilot program for those aged 18-60 with minor symptoms, treatment was within 72 hours of infection confirmation, and patient conditions improved within 3 days of treatment without side effects.
“Let me share these interesting figures with you. A total of 1,251 infected inmates in the Chiang Mai prison have been treated with favipiravir, while 2,914 have been treated with only the green chiretta herbal medicine,” the minister said adding that those coughing and having issues breathing were treated with favipiravir and those with less serious symptoms were given the herbal treatment. Reports now suggest that 11,800 inmates with mild symptoms have been treated with the herbal remedy of which 99.02% have recovered.
According to Deputy Government Spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek, the medicinal herb contains andrographolide, which is a substance that helps to protect cells from the virus and reduced virus multiplication. Dhnadirek was quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying that she and the Corrections Departments gave the green chiretta herb to the infected inmates, and that he was speaking to a number of state agencies regarding a policy to promote herb growing in all prisons.
Prior to this trial Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said that the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine had recommended a daily dosage of 180mg of andrographolides from green chiretta It is to be taken for 5 consecutive days for patients with mild symptoms. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation recommend that asymptomatic patients take 180mg of Fah Talai Jone divided into three 60 mg doses at mealtimes.
The Minister also said that a 0.16-hectare plot can yield 600kg of green chirettas which can be turned into approximately 375,000 herbal extract capsules, and went on to add that a total of 3.1 billion of these capsules will be needed to cover the Thai population which would require more than 1,300 hectares of land. Amphan Welutanti, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives said that the Ministry stands ready to support this idea.
The Thailand Corrections Department plans to produce 50 million capsules of this herbal medicine and aims to give around 50% to the prison population, and according to Thepsutin green chiretta has now become a cash crop costing around 450 baht per kg (around 13.88 American dollars).
In the meantime, the Public Health Ministry will be offering 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer injections donated from America to frontline health workers which are estimated to be enough to cover public health officials and frontline health workers wanting the shots, according to Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. Sura Wisedsak.
The Disease Control Department has instructed all 77 provinces to submit lists of all of the medical workers who want to receive the injections to ensure they all get it as they must be administered within a month as they will likely expire within 30 days if kept at 2-8 degrees Celcius.
After the public health officials and frontline health workers who have requested injections receive theirs, any remaining will likely go to high risks groups such as the elderly, and those suffering from underlying diseases in the 13 worst affected provinces.
The allocation statement has raised concerns that they may be diverted to other select groups of VIPs, as such a group of doctors and nurses called Mor Mai Thon along with other health-related groups gathered outside of the US Embassy to submit a letter requesting help to scrutinize distribution. According to the group transparency of the allocation program is questionable and the group wants it to be given to those most in need rather than select VIPs.
Recently the Dean of the School of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Paisal Rummaneethorn, M.D on behalf of the President of Mae Fah Luang University offered 2,000 sets of green chiretta (100,000 capsules) to the Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Anek Lao Thammatat to support the Aor Wor Parod Project to distribute survival kits containing herbal medicine and the necessary equipment to COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms who are being treated under the Home Isolation Programme.
Green Chiretta/Andrographis Paniculata or Fah Talai Jone has been widely used for centuries in Thailand and neighboring countries to treat acute respiratory tract infections as well as to reduce inflammation and coughing. The DTAM says that Fah Talai Jone extract contains Andrographolide which can eliminate and suppress the spread of coronavirus. The Thailand government is hopeful that the wider availability of the hern will help to relieve pressure on the public health system.