FALSE: Malunggay and kamias tea cure for COVID-19

Claim: Herbal tea made of malunggay and kamias leaves is a cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

An 8-minute-long video posted on Facebook contained this claim. According to the clip, the leaves should be sun-dried and crushed. A tablespoon of the crushed leaves should then be mixed in a glass of water to make tea.

Para po hindi tayo magkahawa-hawa ng karamdamang COVID-19. Sa bahay po kaya nating gamutin 'yan eh (So that we wouldn’t spread COVID-19 further. It could be cured even at home),” the video said.

Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool that identifies potentially dubious posts shared across the platform, flagged the video for fact checkers to verify. The video had over 1 million views, 38,000 shares, 22,000 reactions, and 2,700 comments as of writing. It was posted on May 18.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The World Health Organization (WHO) says that while there are some Western, traditional, or home remedies that may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19, there is still no official cure for the disease as of May 29.

“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 of both Western and traditional medicines,” WHO added.  (READ: What you need to know: Coronavirus cures, vaccines being tested)

In January 2020, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recommended drinking malunggay tea to boost the immune system, but he did not say that it is a cure for the disease. He also encouraged everyone to practice good personal hygiene and adopt a healthy lifestyle as a preventive measure against the disease.

The US Centers for Disease and Control Prevention also said there are currently no antiviral drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19, but the US FDA has authorized at least 4 drugs for emergency use. Malunggay and kamias tea is not part of this.

Scientists all over the world are currently racing to develop a cure and vaccine for COVID-19 but experts say it will take time. The US National Library of Medicine lists over a thousand clinical studies for COVID-19 worldwide. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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