A Facebook post claims drinking water in which leaves of the “asthma plant” have been boiled will prevent breathing complications in Covid-19 patients.
“One of the reasons why Covid 19 patients die is because their windpipe, respiratory tract is blocked by thick phlegm/mucus so air can’t reach their lungs,” it reads.
It says asthma weed, scientific name Euphobia hirta, “will prevent blockage of air passage in Covid-19”. To prepare, “boil the leaf for 10 minutes and drink a glass 3 times a day, the changes will surprise you”.
The post has been shared more than 400 times. But is there any evidence that drinking an infusion of the asthma plant will relieve symptoms of Covid-19?
Nigerian researchers studying plant
A research group at Nigeria’s University of Ibadan says the asthma plant “may be a handy first-aid treatment as tea for people experiencing dry cough, respiratory failure, fever and diarrhoea which are some of the symptoms of Covid-19 infection”.
The group adds that “using the plant may thus help the patients to breathe with ease and remove the need for a ventilator for mild cases”.
But it also warns there is no evidence to prove this yet, and that the “powerful herb” must be used with care and only for a short period.
Awodoyin said while its medicinal use is proven, a clinical test will have to be carried out “before we can authoritatively say it can prevent Covid-19-like symptoms”.
“We haven’t tested the plant on Covid-19 cases, we need money to carry out a proper clinical test before it can be applied to Covid-19 patients. The plant is safe and works well in treating cough.”
WHO cautions about plant remedies
“As efforts are under way to find treatment for Covid-19, caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies,” the WHO says.
“Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy. The use of products to treat Covid-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in Covid-19 prevention, and may also increase self-medication and the risk to patient safety.” – David Ajikobi
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