Garlic Water has its Benefits, Curing Coronavirus is Not One of Them

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Claim: 2019 Novel Coronavirus can be cured by consuming a bowl of freshly boiled garlic water.

Fact: There is no evidence to support this claim.

Verdict: Mostly False

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus a global emergency. As of January 3, 2020, at least 304 people have died from the virus that has infected over 14,500 people worldwide. 

Since the past week, a message has been making rounds on Whatsapp, claiming boiled garlic water can cure people infected by the virus. 

The message reads “Good news, Wuhan’s corona virus can be cured by one bowl of freshly boiled garlic water.Old Chinese doctor has proven it’s efficacy. Many patients has also proven this to be effective. Eight (8) cloves of chopped garlic add seven (7)cups of water and bring to boil., Eat and drink the boiled garlic water, overnight improvement and healing. Glad to share this.”

Soch also searched the keywords “garlic coronavius” in Tweet Binder and found that this piece of misinformation spread on Twitter at a rapid rate in the last seven days. 

Dr Osama Khalid, an infectious diseases specialist at Ziauddin University, told Soch there is no evidence to support this rumour. “If garlic water was so effective, the Chinese authorities would be promoting it. I have not seen anything from the Chinese government that is promoting this,” he said.

“As a general rule, you would tell anyone who has a viral infection to drink/have warm liquids like tea or soup because it would make them feel better. But that doesn’t bring down the actual infection,” he elaborated.

Moreover, the official WHO Western Pacific account posted a tweet earlier today clearly stating that there is no evidence to back this claim. 

This particular piece of misinformation has made its way around the globe and fact checkers from India, Indonesia and Taiwan debunked the claim after it went viral in their respective countries. It is interesting to note that the message being circulated in Pakistan is a word-for-word copy of the messages circulated in the aforementioned countries, highlighting how easily misinformation – especially health related misinformation – can cross borders. 

Summary: There is no evidence to support the claim that freshly boiled garlic water can cure the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. 

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