“In the lockdown, I tele-consulted a few patients from remote areas. Most patients experienced skin allergies and digestive issues. Being an allopathic doctor, I used to prescribe anti-allergic medications. Initially, I had no idea about the excess kadha consumption in people. But one of my patients during consultation told me that he is having digestive issues and the colour of stool is different too. A detailed talk revealed he and his family were consuming 3-4 glasses of kadha every day since the lockdown. Even that time I couldn’t relate,” shares Dr Archana Nirula, Head Medical Affairs, MyUchar.
Further elaborating on the incident, Dr Archana shares, “A few weeks later I read an article by Dr Hegde from Manipal wherein he explained about his patients having bleeding episodes. The article also read about the doctor’s experience and how his patients were experiencing side effects due to excess consumption of kadha. And suggested that there could be a link.”
Can Kadhas really cause any side-effects?
The pandemic has resulted in people consuming kadha in abundant. Honey Thaker, Head Nutritionist, Fitness Science & Nutrition at Pure Nutrition, believes it is encouraging that people are turning to Ayurveda to strengthen their immunity and it may help to prevent infection, but you need to do so in the right way. “When not consumed in the appropriate dosage, in excess, or without consideration of other health conditions, there is some risk of side effects. Ayurvedic kadhas are a great way to boost immunity and typically they contain herbs like ginger, pepper, tulsi, cloves, cinnamon and so on. These are largely regarded as safe, but this is assuming that the patient consumes just one or two cups a day, rather than four or five!”
The side-effects an individual experience may vary based on the ingredients as well as existing medical conditions. “Stomach ulcers are common side effects caused by excess consumption of kadha. According to a paper that is being researched, excess consumption of kadha can cause stomach ulcers and thinning of the blood. Excess consumption of spices concoction can inflame the lines in the stomach causing stomach ulcers. Bleeding in gastrointestinal tracts can also cause black stool. If you are consuming any blood thinners it increases your chances of bleeding,” explains Dr Archana.
She also mentions excess consumption of the concoction can cause skin allergies and imbalance in the hormone levels. Other side-effects include mouth glisters, acne, nose bleeding, acne, and rash.
If you experience any side effects, immediately contact your doctor. If you are consuming the concoction in excess, then you need to stop it immediately. Bleeding can be an alarming sign. It may indicate internal bleeding and can be fatal.
How much is too much?
Ayurveda emphasizes personalized care for each patient, so it’s hard to narrow down kadha intake to a specific limit per day, but to be safe I would recommend no more than 2 doses a day, acclaims Nutritionist Honey. She also explains, “For most individuals, anything more than twice a day would be too much and it would also depend on the ingredients being used. Some of the commonly used kadha ingredients like harda, black pepper, ashwagandha, and cinnamon are known to have a heating effect in the body. Consuming too much kadha can therefore result in a build-up of excess heat in the body, which may produce side effects like indigestion, nose bleeds, and so on.”
Even though Kadha is prepared using natural ingredients it may cause more harm than benefits if taken excessively. “Even if Ayush Ministry recommends the consumption of kadha, they should clearly mention the quantity of kadha one needs to consume in a day. As recommended by Ayurveda, Kadha might be an immunity booster but one needs to understand the proper process of making it, the right amount of each ingredient and quantity appropriate for consumption,” suggests Dr Archana.
Can Kadha prevent COVID-19?
“People should be sceptical about marketers who claim that any product can cure or prevent COVID-19 infection, including Ayurvedic kadhas. However, various Ayurvedic practices and the consumption of kadhas can be beneficial for strengthening immunity and this can play a role in the fight against COVID-19,” says Nutritionist Honey Thaker.
The nutritionist also shares, “A paper that was published in the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics also highlighted the benefits of phytochemicals and pharmacological properties in herbs that are used in Ayurvedic kadhas, suggesting that they can help in prevention and treatment of COVID-19. However, studies are in the early stages and daily kadha consumption is not a foolproof strategy to prevent infection. You also need to adhere to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, and other advisories to stay safe.”
Things to keep in mind
Experts share important tips to consider before making Kadha a part of your daily routine.
· Follow the proper way of making the kadha. Understand the right amount of ingredients and do not overload the drink with spices.
· Never consume kadha in the morning on an empty stomach.
· Excess consumption of kadha may also worsen the condition in individuals with hormonal issues.
· Every individual also has a unique prakriti or balance of doshas, so the blend of herbs used in a kadha should support your constitution. If you already know your dosha type, prepare kadha using herbs that are meant to support your constitution.
· Pay more attention to your body and how it responds to kadha consumption. If you experience any unpleasant symptoms, change the dosage or switch ingredients. Your safest bet would be to ask an Ayurvedic specialist for personalised advice.