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Growing demand drives herb prices up

By Our Correspondent
June 07, 2020

Islamabad : As more and more people are turning to home remedies to 'prevent' coronavirus amid pandemic, the herb prices have surged.

The most sought-after among these herbs is ‘sana makki’ (senna), which is being touted as a cure for the virus, which has claimed around 1,900 lives and infected over 90,000 people in the country.

Visitors to herbal stores told 'The News' that ‘sana makki’ used to cost around Rs300 a kg until few months ago was selling at Rs1500-2000 per kg.

They also complained about the shortage of the herb, which is used by boiling in water.

The consumers feared that the way the COVID-19 incidence was increasing, the herb's rate would go up further.

They said they were influenced by the claim of UK-based herbalist Nazir Ahmad that more than 150 people fully recovered from coronavirus after they used ‘sana makki’ tea as prescribed by him. Hakeem Abdur Rashid of Golra area confirmed the soaring ‘sana makki’ prices and said the escalating demand had driven up the rate. He said the herb boosted immunity to prevent diseases if it was used as recommended by experts. "Sana makki is among herbs, which remove toxins from body, reduce inflammation, treat flu-like conditions and help resist diseases," he said.

However, medical doctors reject the notion that ‘sana makki’ is a cure for coronavirus. “Herbs can boost immunity but it is misleading and false to declare them a cure for COVID-19,” said Dr Wasim Khawaja of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad. He asked the people not to use ‘sana makki’ without the experts' advice and that, too, in large quantity to prevent complications.