People buy vegetables at a market in Colombo. ( AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA)

Vegetable soup remedy touted by Sri Lankan Facebook users cannot cure Covid-19

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A recipe for vegetable soup has been shared by Sri Lankan Facebook users alongside a claim it will "cure" Covid-19 infection within three days. The claim is false: medical professionals said there is no evidence the purported remedy can cure Covid-19.

The recipe was shared in this Facebook post on August 15, 2021.

It has been shared more than 1,000 times.

The post's Sinhala-language caption translates to English as: "We will also start tomorrow onwards. Hope someone will find this useful".

The text in the post reads: "This Soup recipe was taught by Wickramaarachchi indigenous medicine doctor.

"I gave this soup to all the neighbouring children when they tested positive and they were all cured.

"Radish, carrots, cabbages, pumpkins, beets - take them all in equal amounts and add 12 peppercorns.

"Its okay to mix in curry leaves. Do not mix anything else. Even if you don't have corona drink a cup full of this. If you are a corona patient, drink three times a day for three days and the infection will end.

"If the condition is serious, take five parts of a paawatta tree, chop it and extract the juice and give it to the patient. A person who needed medical oxygen because of a coronavirus infection was saved by these remedies".

Screenshot of the Facebook post captured on August 18, 2021

A similar claim was shared on Facebook here, here and here.

The claim is false: the purported remedy cannot cure Covid-19, experts told AFP.

'No evidence'

Professor Priyadarshani Galapatthy, medical humanities department head of the University of Colombo, said there was no scientific study to support the claim.

"There are several herbal products, home remedies and various methods that people are promoting for treatment/ prevention of Covid-19 without any substantial evidence to support these claims," she said.

An official from Sri Lanka's Health Promotion Bureau also said the claim was false.

"Consumption of vegetables is part of a balanced diet and helps diet diversity, which boosts immunity. However, to claim a vegetable soup alone will cure Covid-19 infections within three days is a false claim without any basis," the official said.

Indigenous medicine

Dr. L. P. A. Karunathilake, a senior lecturer of indigenous medicine at the University of Colombo, told AFP the ingredients listed in the post were not prescribed treatments in indigenous medicine.

"The consumption of vegetables will be of nutritional value no doubt but no one can claim a vegetable soup can cure a Covid-19," he said. "It is completely false. There are no one-size-fits-all cures for any disease in ayurveda or indigenous treatment methods. Moreover, these vegetables are not even varieties that are prescribed for treatments in indigenous or ayurveda medicine."

Dr Karunathilake went on to say people should not believe that drinking pawatta juice will help improve a Covid-19 patient's blood oxygen levels.

"If a Covid-19 infected patient displays breathing difficulties, they should be immediately hospitalised for treatment to be administered under professional supervision," he said.

COVID-19