The race to find a cure for Coronavirus tempted not just Baba Ramdev to come up with the corona kit but also a sweet shop in Coimbatore which sought to lure people with this ‘cure’ – a herbal ‘mysoorpa’ which it called “Photon Speed Corona Cure Mysoorpa”.
While Ramdev later altered his claim that the corona kit was actually an immunity booster, this shop suggested a three-day treatment with a dosage of one cake of mysoorpa four times a day for those with symptoms of corona. For the asymptomatic, half a cake four times a day would suffice.
The pamphlet distributed by the shop – Sree Ram Vilas Nellai Lala Sweets – claimed that initially the mysoorpa would taste bitter but would gradually become sweet as the person’s immunity is increased. It even helpfully suggests that each bite should be chewed thirteen times before swallowing the sweet.
The traditional Mysore Pak, which originated in Mysore, Karnataka, is a popular South Indian sweet made of gram flour, ghee and sugar. While the original name continues to be widely used, a famous Coimbaotre based chain renamed its offering as ‘mysoorpa’, with the promise that it would melt in the mouth after every bite.
The success of that mysoorpa saw an influx of small shops with their own variety of the ‘melting mysoorpa’. Sree Ram Vilas Nellai Lala Sweets too was selling its own brand of the cake as “Mr Mysoorpa” - till it came up with its new concoction to take on corona. In its Tamil pamphlet that claimed the herbal mysoorpa cured corona, the shop had even offered to give the formula free of cost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi “to realise the dream of the late Dr. Abdul Kalam to make India a superpower.”
As the photos of the pamphlets of the herbal mysoorpa went viral on social media, few residents of Coimbaotre alerted food safety authorities. A team of food safety officials immediately raided the shop at Chinniyampalayam in Coimbatore on Wednesday. “This particular product had not been certified by FSSAI and making such claims about cure will also invite action under the Epidemic Diseases Act,” said K. Tamilselvan, the designated officer of FSSAI who inspected the shop.
The officials found that each 50 gm piece of the brown coloured cake was sold at Rs.50 and one kilo at Rs. 800. The officials found that the owners had mixed 19 types of widely available herbs to the recipe for making the herbal mysoorpa. They seized 120 kilos of the herbal mysoorpa and sealed the shop and cancelled its licence. A case has been filed under the Food Safety Act and also the Epidemic Diseases Act.