Sashi, 50, saw adverts on television for a herbal drink made by ayurveda and yoga tycoon Baba Ramdev “that can keep my family safe from the coronavirus”.
“I thought that since it’s been on TV, it must be good,” she said.
The pandemic has increased nervousness about the fragile state of India’s healthcare system.
Experts believe that, because of under-testing and under-reporting, the number of cases and deaths is much higher than officially reported.
The rising interest in ayurveda and other therapies has been encouraged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, which set up a dedicated ministry in 2014.
In January, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy (AYUSH) touted traditional remedies as a means to combat coronavirus.
More recently, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan released guidelines for treating some asymptomatic and mild Covid patients with ayurveda and yoga.
At pharmacies, ayurveda products are displayed as prominently as pharmaceutical drugs.
Mother Dairy, a leading milk producer, said there had been a “phenomenal” consumer response to its recently launched turmeric milk for children.
There is no scientific evidence that ayurvedic treatments can prevent coronavirus.
The sector was massive before the pandemic, with people believing claims that natural remedies can cure everything from cancer to the common cold.
It is now worth $10 billion a year, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Ayurveda practitioner Bhaswati Bhattacharya said the lack of a coronavirus vaccine and other conventional treatments had driven the rush towards familiar natural remedies.
“Ayurveda has been written for 5,000 years and been around probably for twice that at least. It’s lived through plagues, smallpox and pandemics, so people are saying, ‘Let’s see if it works’,” she told AFP.