In the midst of a pandemic, people across the world are turning to alternative medicine and nutrition as a means of assuaging fears and attempting to stay healthy. The spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, has reached most corners of the globe, infecting hundreds of thousands. While the virus has many in the hospital, some staying at home are looking for their own, at-home cures. As health enthusiasts find things to make them feel better, they are spreading anecdotal information. Sometimes, these social media posts are simple suggestions for feeling better. Other times, they claim that certain household items have COVID-19 healing properties.
Interestingly, one of these rumors concerns juice – specifically, a glass of green juice shared several thousand times. The post, published March 8, 2020, writes:
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.
Bitter gourd, the vegetable mentioned in the post, is commonly used in traditional medicine across Asia. The vegetable, also called “bitter melon,” is green and spiky, resembling okra or a spiny cucumber. It has a crunchy husk like a green pepper, but the texture is watery, similar to that of a cucumber. The taste is alkaline and unlike any other fruit and vegetable, which means most cook the gourd down to eliminate the bitterness.
The post that gained the most attention originated from India, but there have been dozens of other, widely circulated posts about bitter gourd’s healing properties when given to COVID-19 patients. In response to the original post, Dr. Naveen Chandra Prasad, the Director in Chief of the Disease Control and Public Health section of Bihar’s Department in India, said: “This message is false, there is no such information issued by Bihar health department, nor is there any evidence that bitter gourd juice can cure COVID-19.”
Staying Realistic in a Global Pandemic
While most of us wish the novel coronavirus responded to juice, this is simply not the case. Juices have various health and nutrition benefits – there is no doubt there. However, if you see posts claiming that a run-of-the-mill organic juice blend can cure this virus, be aware that this is false information.
Still, now is a great time to drink up. With millions around the globe on lockdown, take the time to experiment, try new juices, and see what combinations make you feel good – both physically and emotionally. Just remember: If you see false claims of juice’s healing powers, shut it down as quickly as possible.