14 April, 2021

Immunology Sales Pitch

Haldi milk, gilory juice, tulsi tea, vitamin C chewies—there’s more than you can chew in the immunity booster market

Immunology Sales Pitch

The Battle of Haldighati played out every day in a Delhi household since the Covid plague barreled down on the country. The combatant mom pressed the entire might of her cavalry and archers to make the mutinous ten-year-old son drink her grandmother’s health recipe—a milkshake of freshly-ground pulpy turmeric, crushed clove and cardamom, and sugar to tranquilise the turmeric’s bitterness. But peace descended abruptly around late-June when milk fortified with haldi and in tasty flavours such as butterscotch became available in shops. Young Rohan Srivastava calls it “my golden milk” and demands a full glass before his online class.

Turmeric, the Indian kitchen’s inescapable condiment, is but another “super-food” from a wide range of immunity boosters that pandemic-scarred people have rediscovered. Without a vaccine or medicine, people have every reason to strengthen their immunity and fall back on age-old formulas passed down generations. And of course, opportunistic quacks have also fanned the flames of people’s...

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