Indian health authorities refute myth that juiced vegetables can cure COVID-19
A post has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp which claims a regional government in India has recommended that the juice of bitter gourd, a vegetable often used in traditional medicine, is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; Indian authorities dismissed the claim, calling it “absolutely false”; health experts said there is no evidence the vegetable is an effective remedy for COVID-19.
Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:
The post’s Hindi caption translates to English as: “Friends the treatment of Coronavirus has been found by Indian scientists, bitter gourd juice will cure within two hours of its consumption. Send this message across all India, this is a matter of life, thank you Bihar Health department.”
According to the US-based health publication WebMD, bitter gourd is a green vegetable often used in traditional medicine across Asia.
India has registered 468 COVID-19 infections as of March 24, 2020, AFP reported here. The government has said it will ground all domestic passenger flights from March 25 in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. More than 700 million people in 30 states and territories have been ordered into complete lockdowns, according to an AFP tally.
The claim is false.
During a phone conversation with AFP on March 19, 2020, Dr. Naveen Chandra Prasad, the Director in Chief of the Disease Control and Public Health section of Bihar’s Department of said: “This message is false, there is no such information issued by Bihar health department nor there is any evidence that bitter gourd juice can cure COVID-19.”
The Indian government’s Press Information Bureau also issued a statement on Twitter on March 18, 2020, calling the claim “absolutely false”.
The Hindi tweet translates to English as: “The claim that consumption of bitter gourd juice can cure coronavirus in two hours is absolutely false. Share accurate information about the Coronavirus but stay away from rumours.”