From ‘Ammale Kashayu’ to ‘Chyawanprash’, Immunity Boosters are Selling Like Hot-Cakes during Pandemic
Mangaluru: Not long ago, Team Mangalorean had published an article ‘Ammale Kashayu! A Tribute Video from Son to Mother, for her ‘Kashayu’ meant to Chase Away Covid-19?‘, where “Ammale Kashayu! (Mom’s Kashayu!) – a Tribute Video from Son, Mukund Kamath, the Managing Partner of Ideal Ice Cream, Mangaluru to His Mother, Mrs Jaya Kamath, for her special Kashayu meant to Chase Away COVID-19? was a hit, with a large number of hits after it went viral on social media. If all Mrs Kamath’s Kashayu may not really chase away or kill the Corona Virus, but it might have surely boosted your Immunity during the time of the pandemic. Later, Mukund Kamath speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “I got lots of calls and messages about the recipe of my mother’s Kashaya and its benefits. Actually, “Ammale Kashayu” story video was made with the intention as to how a mother takes care of her family with love and affection. And in reciprocation, how the family takes it to please Her even though the Kashaya works or not, but mothers and families love will always work”.
From Ayurvedic kadhas to herbal meals: Immunity boosters are now serious business. Even as the concept of a healthy body and strong immune system has been part of India’s culture since times immemorial, “before COVID times, immunity-boosting was not very focused”. Immunity has become a buzzword during the COVID-19 crisis and building the body’s defence through food and herbal concoctions or even serious lifestyle changes are among the top priorities. The government, doctors as well as COVID-19 survivors themselves have time and again reaffirmed the need to build immunity and stay protected. While there is no scientifically proven direct link between one’s lifestyle and enhanced immune function, there is a growing consensus on the need to live a more balanced life.
Mrs Jaya Kamath, beaming with pride with her homemade cup of Special ‘Ammale Kashayu’
Apart from hygiene and other safety protocols in the hospitality industry is given utmost importance but there is something more that this industry is focused on these days is—immunity. Immunity booster dishes, drinks, sweets and desserts are the latest buzz word in the hospitality industry. As a result hotels in Kudla usher with immunity booster food and beverages. The welcome drinks are now replaced with traditional kashyam, made up of pepper, ginger and dash of jaggery. A wide variety of immunity booster menus are introduced apart from regular ones. Keeping pace with the trend, Dairy Day has launched its “Dairy Day Plus Haldi Ice Cream”, which they claim offers the goodness of haldi, pepper and honey with “no artificial flavours and colours”. The stress towards immunity also prompted a few restaurants to introduce “Healthy Immunity Booster Drink’, which they claim helps to “provide you with the right nutrients”.
Ocean Pearl Hotels boasts of one of the full-fledged menus which focus completely on ‘immunity’. Speaking to Team Mangalorean B N Girish- Vice President of Hotel Ocean Pearl said, “One must not mistake immunity food as medicine. We are not serving medicine for the pandemic but through our special curated food menu, we are trying to boost the immunity of our patrons. A lot of studies have claimed that one can keep COVID-19 at bay if the immunity is strong and we are doing exactly the same,”. The hotel introduced the separate immunity booster a few days ago and has been receiving positive responses from the diners.
Girish explaining the menu said that all the customers visiting the hotel are served with kashayam, kada, Kahwa, turmeric tea, Golden Milk (milk with turmeric, black pepper and ghee). The food menu contains immunity booster soup — chicken broth with thyme and avocado and spinach and broccoli with soya paneer soup. There are also a variety of immunity booster salads and main course (both veg and non-veg). “The food ends with again immunity booster desserts. To name a few are: Apple and Honey with cinnamon pie, citrus and green tea souffle, dark chocolate tart with roasted walnut,” explained Girish.
Even a local ice cream company has used Ayur in one ice cream flavour with a view to boosting immunity levels. The Ayur range has wheatgrass, Ginger and Lime, Isabgol, and Chyawanprash with dates ice cream flavours that are sure to boost immunity. When Team Mangalorean asked the Managing Director of Ideal Ice Cream Mukund Kamath, who always creates innovative products, whether he is also planning on creating immunity booster ice cream flavour- he said NO! Also, a city-based cloud kitchen has come up with a healthy menu, bringing traditional nutritious recipes in the form of salads. They use laxmanphal (Soursop) in the dressing, avocado, healthy nuts and seeds and also have introduced warm salads for the rainy season.
Locally with the spike in COVID-19 cases, many medical shops are witnessing a huge demand for immunity boosters and vitamin supplements. Owner of a medical shop said, “These days we have been selling quite a few vitamin C and D3 tablets. People even ask for B-complex tablets with zinc. This is because they get their knowledge through videos, TV or social media”. Yet another pharmacist said that the demand for multivitamin tablets has increased in the recent days during the pandemic, mainly by educated people, whose awareness level is high. And at the same time, we are getting inquiries about drugs for COVID treatment, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, has repeatedly noted how “enhancing the body’s natural defence system or immunity plays an important role in maintaining optimum health”. “We all know that prevention is better than cure. While there is no medicine for COVID-19 as of now, it will be good to take preventive measures which boost our immunity in these times,” he said. Not just food, herbal concoctions that make use of the kitchen spices are witnessing high demand. Many of these immunity boosters contain “ingredients like tulsi, mulethi, amaltas, unnab, saplstan, amla, giloy, neem, etc” that are known for their preventive nature and ability to fight chronic illnesses.
Why are these offerings flooding the market? Even as the concept of a healthy body and strong immune system has been part of India’s culture since times immemorial, “before COVID times, immunity-boosting was not very focused” and was considered when someone was unwell. India is a land of herbs and spices that are rich in medicinal properties and have been part of every Indian kitchen and grandmothers’ remedies. Given the current scenario, where the only cure/weapon against coronavirus is to have a strong immunity system, consumer perception has changed drastically towards preventive healthcare and medication. Individuals are now eager to invest in immunity building treatments that are herbal/natural to fight various anti-microbial infections.
Local physician Dr B Srinivas Kakkilaya says that COVID-19 is a self-limiting infection that gets cured by one’s immune system, in more than 99% of cases. Kashaya or other preparations and supplements assumed to be immunity boosters are of little help, he added. While Dr Frahan Fazal-Consultant of Infectious Diseases at KMC Hospital, Mangaluru says that more than immunity boosters, it is important to wear face masks and practice social distancing to contain the Virus. “There are many things that we are yet to understand about COVID-19. The general understanding is that if our immune system is robust, we would be able to control the viral infection without getting into complications. Supplements like Vitamin C that do not have adverse effects can be taken, but assuming that it will protect one from COVID-19 is wrong”, added Dr Fazal.
However, this health trend is merely a short-term ‘marketing gimmick’, with “consumers prioritising their health, wellness, and sanitisation” to avoid infection and stay safe, brands that are invested in wellness and healthcare will play a vital role to meet consumer requirements. The word Kashaya always instigates mixed reactions from everyone; even if you didn’t know what they were, once you do, the mixed reactions will occur, right on cue. Kashaya is an Ayurvedic home remedy that is made with whole spices and herbs, brewed as a tea and usually drunk hot. There are so many versions, each specializing in a specific form of wellness, and even some you can powder and mix with a glass of warm milk, instead of brewing as a tea.
And if you are still interested in making your own Kashaya, as an immunity booster, here is the recipe where speaking to Team Mangalorean, the creator of this special Kashayu Mrs Jaya Kamath, the mother of Mukund Kamath, gave the secret ingredients of the brew, said “To make four glasses of my Kashaya Tea, you need 6 Cloves, 6 Peppercorn, 1 teaspoon Coriander, 1/2 teaspoon Jeera, 1 small Ginger, 2 teaspoons tea powder, 2 Tablespoon Jaggery, 1/2 Lemon and 900 ml water. Roast the coriander & jeera. Grind all the spices, then add the water to ground spices, add the jaggery and tea powder and bring it to a boil. Strain the Kashayu Tea and add the Lemon juice, and serve it hot. If you liked it and showed good results in you, spread the word to others and let them also enjoy the goodness of a Kashaya during this pandemic”.
Sources reveal that peppercorn aids in digestion and helps flush toxins from your body. It also breaks up mucous and phlegm and enables your body to absorb and retain more nutrition from the food you consume. Jeera is another good digestive, which helps boost immunity, treats respiratory disorders, alleviates insomnia and suppresses cough. So if you’re coughing a lot, add an extra spoon of this while brewing the Kashayu. Coriander eases digestive discomfort, lowers blood pressure, regulates proper menstrual functions and keeps neuro-degenerative diseases at bay. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, good for nausea, relieves muscle pain, aids digestion, lowers blood sugar, and has been known to relieve menstrual pain as effectively as Ibuprofen.