Fact Check: Can Tea Cure COVID-19? No!
"Who would have known that a simple cup of tea would be the solution to this virus," reads a viral WhatsApp forward.
In another instance of bizarre remedies for COVID-19, a WhatApp forward claims that good old tea can cure the infection that the novel coronavirus causes.
One of our community members sent us the forward asking us to verify it.
Good morning @ravishndtv Sir ,Today I got this message on whatsapp.Please check and tell how much truth is there in these things. Can #coronavirus really be controlled by drinking tea 3 times a day. Thank You 🙏 #NDTV pic.twitter.com/GRucfI0tkM— Sameer Srivastav (@sam__srivastav) March 24, 2020
The viral forward claims that in his case files, the Chinese doctor who first detected the deadly coronavirus had documented evidence that substances commonly found in tea can decrease the impact of the virus - these are known as methylxanthines.
And that hospitals in China started giving Covid-19 patients tea three times a day.
The chemical compounds required to cure Covid-19 can be found in tea, the forward states.
It also mentions that the news was first published by CNN.
'Breaking News from CNN:- Dr Li Wenliang, China's hero doctor who was punished for telling the truth about coronavirus and later died due to the same disease, had documented casefiles for research purposes and had in the case files proposed a cure that would significantly decrease the impact of the Covid-19 on the human body... What's more shocking is that these complex words that were so difficult for people in China to understand are actually called tea in India, YES, our regular tea has all these chemicals already in it,' the forward reads.
China's whistleblower Dr Wenliang who first spoke about coronavirus and was punished by the Chinese government had documented tea as a cure for coronavirus, the message says.
The same message was also published in a news report on the website The Shivalik.com. "Tea can be cure to Corona Virus," stated the headline.
Drinking tea can cure COVID-19.
The claim is misleading.
It's true that methylxanthines are found in tea, as well as in coffee and chocolate.
There is, however, no evidence that Dr Li Wenliang was researching their effect - he was an eye specialist, rather than an expert on viruses, or that hospitals in China are specifically treating Covid-19 by giving patients tea.
There is a report on China's whistleblower doctor titled 'This Chinese doctor tried to save lives, but was silenced. Now he has coronavirus'.
This report does not mention any of the claims made on the viral message.
"Li, a 34-year-old doctor working in Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, told his friends to warn their loved ones privately. But within hours screenshots of his messages had gone viral -- without his name being blurred," the report reads.
"When I saw them circulating online, I realized that it was out of my control and I would probably be punished," CNN quotes Li as saying.
A report published in China Daily titled 'Can drinking tea prevent coronavirus infections?' states that an article was published by researchers from the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention who found through experiments that because of its chemical components, drinking tea could help prevent novel coronavirus infections.
In the same report, however, China Daily says that "The article, published by the WeChat account of Zhejiang CDC on Feb 26, has been removed."
As of now, scientists are still working on trying to create a vaccine for Covid-19.
While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343