Sinhala Wedakama to prevent Covid-19 deaths | Sunday Observer

Sinhala Wedakama to prevent Covid-19 deaths

5 June, 2021

Those supporting traditional medicine to be used as the main component of boosting immunity against Covid-19 and to facilitate quick healing are calling for strategies of using the skills of around 30,000 traditional physicians of the Sri Lankan Ayurveda/Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala wedakam) tradition as well physicians practicing Siddha and Unani medical systems.

Their immunity boosting skills can be used to benefit the nation, according to a geographically relevant systematic manner, they said.

“It is known beyond doubt that Sri Lankan Ayurveda is a goldmine of immunity restoration that have cured not only countless number of Dengue patients over the years but also those who were afflicted by the Chikanguina (virus flu) that impacted the country some years back,” said the former Ayurveda Commissioner, Ramani Gunawardena.

“I have travelled all over Sri Lanka and know about the immeasurable knowledge of rural physicians and also the younger generation of traditional physicians who above all have a deep commitment to save lives.

I know first hand that these physicians can cure serious kidney complications, eliminate cancer and easily cure diabetes and correct grave bone related problems. I believe that there is nothing that the indigenous medical systems of Sri Lanka cannot cure,” she said.


Gunawardena (now retired) served as the Ayurveda Commissioner for six years, from 2006 to 2011. She added that the decisions to strengthen and promote indigenous medical practices during her tenure had created a foundation for a potential system such as home facilitated treatment that could be built upon at present to deal with this health crisis confronting the country.

“By end of 2014 we had the Ayurvedic equivalent of Medical Officers of Health and had trained around 600 Ayurveda Medical Officers to promote indigenous diet and create awareness on general herb based knowledge so that we could minimise sickness in the population, especially non communicable diseases”, she said adding that these kind of awareness building is crucially needed today to confront Covid-19 through general knowledge of immunity boosting through traditional food, medicines and herbs.

“We should go well beyond just telling people to be scared. Years ago every Lankan was a physician, every mother was a senior most physician. Today even a basic knowledge of immunity building through our rich medicinal plants and everyday herbs, native fruits and vegetables are eradicated from the minds of the masses.”

Gunawardena reiterated that there are sufficient human resources in the form of Ayurveda health officers throughout the island and thousands of Indigenous medicinal physicians (wedamahattayas) spread across the country.


This collective human resource base is sufficient to design a system where the emphasis is to use, at this time desperately needed, the undisputed immunity boosting available not only in Sinhala wedakama (DeshiyaChikitsa) but also Unani and Siddha as relevant, she stressed.

She said that Sri Lanka’s ancient knowledge of immunity boosting remains one of the few surviving nature centric medical systems in a world monopolised by Allopathy.

If used through a systemised manner it would prevent not only the daily deaths from Covid-19 in Sri Lanka but also create a medical revolution in the world in how this pandemic is handled and bring dignity to this nation and its intangible cultural heritage”, she said.

“As Commissioner of Ayurveda I travelled all over Sri Lanka and I worked closely with the wedamahattayas/wedahamines of Sri Lanka.

For my own medication and that of my family I use only Sri Lankan Ayurveda and often treatments of Sinhala wedakama by our male and female traditional physicians.

I detect in them a great love of for what they do, that makes the difference”, she said.

“The theory is needed but if the theory exists without either the emotional bonding for the subject or the yearning to restore lives, then the theory will not be maximised in practice.

Right now we need the practice of all the knowledge we have in our Pus Kola Poth (Ola leaf manuscripts). We also have to prioritise the preservation of this knowledge and the interpretation of the knowledge in them in order to prepare ahead for these health challenged times,” she said.

She said that her attachment to the subject of Ayurveda/Sri Lankan indigenous medical heritage was based on her family based values that respected the indigenous even though her immediate family relatives are Western medicine (Allopathy) doctors.

No conflict

She sees no conflict in the two medical professions and no conflict between Ayurveda and Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala Wedakama) if wisdom is used to prioritise only the sole purpose of the wellbeing of the individual and not the exclusiveness or monopoly of any single medical system.

She recalls incidents where she directed to traditional physicians patients, including her relatives who were told by Western doctors that their limbs had to be severed due to diverse complications such as nerve related issues or diabetes but where this was prevented by the knowledge of rural based traditional physicians.

The final outcome of the treatment by these physicians were that the limbs were not only saved from operations but were even stronger than before due to all the curative oils used and diets advised, she said.

“I am proud to say as a former Ayurveda Commissioner that I respect the dedication of the Sinhala Wedakam/Sri Lankan Ayurveda physicians in wanting to bravely treat Covid-19 patients.

Some years ago we established small treatment units that can house about ten persons, adjacent the houses of traditional physicians. These were known in Sinhala as Hela Weda Gewal and we primarily at that time had in mind the bone/fracture related treatments (Kadum Bindum Wedakama),” she explained.

“Right now we need to think out some similar system to ensure that Sri Lanka uses its own unique medical heritage to deal with this health crisis that has baffled the world.

I have personally spoken to some physicians who have treated this Covid-19 situation and have seen written proof of their success in both preventing the spread of the pandemic in quarantine centres/prisons and the treatment of individual Covid-19 patients,” she said.

Head of the Deshiya Waidya Krama Surekime Sanwideanaya, Physician D. B. Rathnayaka who hails from a family of traditional medical practitioners and is based in Kandy said that any system established to use the skills of the traditional physicians (wedamahattayas) should be carefully structured to ensure the unity of the Sinhala wedkakam tradition.

“Covid-19 attacks immunity. Almost every wedamahattaya would have different ways through diverse herb combinations coming down from thousands of years,to treat respiratory infection at the very instant it attacks the body, and according to varying severity.

At the same time they can create medical combinations that will assist in healing of other health malfunctions as per the patient’s individual need,” says Rathnayaka.

“While every physician holds this knowledge, there are some traditional physicians who spent a lot of time to create Covid-19 specific mediations, some of them developing it further from what they made previously for Dengue.


These medications are now even being exported. These physicians can be given prominence as needed when attending to this pandemic through a State designed structure to ensure we use their skills,” Rathnayaka said.

He further said that whether it is home based or hospital based that the skills of the wedamahattayas can be utilised through a system which could obtain the cooperation of the wedasangam (organisations consisting of membership of traditional physicians) throughout the country.

“It is best that wedasangams around the country especially those with a high membership of well respected wedamahattayas in diverse districts in the country are absorbed into a workable situation that will ensure the proper use of Sri Lanka’s medical heritage in this time where it is a dire compulsory need,” the head of the he said.

Engineer Harsha Kumar Suriyaarachchi, founding member of the Sinhala Weda Uruma Baraya, a grouping of intellectuals, academics and professionals as well as both traditional and allopathy doctors promoting Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala wedakama), asserted that it is general knowledge and the understanding by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Western medical system has no way of either curing Covid-19 or boosting the natural immunity of Covid-19 patients.

“We are appealing for the use of our ancient herb based methods of boosting immunity for handling a pandemic which first and foremost attacks immunity and where Western science has absolutely no nature based method of either boosting immunity or removing immediately the infection as it attacks the lungs,” Suriyaarachchi said.


“The West does not have this traditional medicinal science which includes herb based vapour inhalation and anyone who reads the 19th century Western medical researchers of Ayurveda would know that they were aghast at the range of medical expertise we had and was full of respect for it.

Sri Lanka is one of the last bastions of this nature based medication knowledge in the entire world. We have not mechanised Ayurveda such as India and our Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala wedakama) cannot be left as an idling treasure in this calamity.

We offer our highest support to the government to prevent the dire health and economic loss of the nation by using our medicinal heritage without hesitation.”

“Each and every wedamahattaya in this country knows how to boost immunity of the human body with our diverse medicinal plants (though the selection of herbs of the wattoru may vary). Please use their skills. Please prevent the daily deaths that are happening,” he said.

He however further stated that the Sinhala Weda Uruma Baraya expects that it is only patients who wishes for Ayurveda treatment for Covid-19 would be sent to Ayurveda hospitals to prevent wastage of resources and effort.

The Sinhala Weda Uruma Baraya in supporting the government’s decision to allow Ayurveda hospitals to use the skill of Ayurveda doctors for treating Covid-19 patients, on Tuesday, June 01st donated face masks worth Rs. 50,000 to the Ayurveda hospital in Nawinna which was accepted by Mrs. Kumari Weerasekera the Secretary to the Ministry of indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospitals Development and Community Health.