No scientific proof that ‘okra water’ prevents cancer, cures diabetes, arthritis and more

“The okra you don’t value is the actual cure for your diabetes and arthritic pain,” claims a Facebook post published in Nigeria in December 2019.

Okra water has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to soothe joint aches, arthritic pain, and for the treatment of diabetes,” it says.

“The powerful antioxidants contained in the okra’s thick liquid has been proven to help prevent cancer and the potassium in it helps relax the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and strengthen the cardiovascular system.”

It then describes how to make “okra water”.

The post includes a graphic showing chopped okra in a jar of liquid. The graphic’s text reads: “Drink okra water and treat diabetes, asthma, cholesterol and kidney diseases.”

It’s been shared more than 9,500 times, and attracted some 1,400 reactions.

But is it true that okra can heal all these ailments – and prevent cancer?

Nutritious – but not a cure-all

Okra is a flowering plant with edible seed pods. It seems to have origins in north eastern Africa, and today is grown in a number of tropical and subtropical countries.

The seed pods contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, but are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Africa Check asked Prof Tanimola Akande, a consultant public health physician, about the claims.

“Okra water has not been scientifically proven to treat or prevent cancer or help relax blood vessels or blood pressure,” he said.

Prof Emmanuel Aguwa, a professor of public health in the faculty of medical sciences at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, told Africa Check that the okra concoction had not been medically proven to treat diabetes, asthma, kidney disease and cholesterol. – Jennifer Ojugbeli


 

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.