June 13th, 2021

Fear forcing people to drink up false hopes

By Rohiman Haroon - June 13, 2021 @ 12:10am

A safer and easier way to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated against Covid-19 so that herd immunity  can be achieved. -BERNAMA Pic
A safer and easier way to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated against Covid-19 so that herd immunity can be achieved. -BERNAMA Pic

First, it was jamu. Drink the Javanese traditional herbal concoction and swallow it with two free-range chicken eggs in one gulp.

Then, there was the boiled mixture of lemongrass, neem leaves and coarse salt.

Drink that every day, without any indication of the dosage and frequency, and we'll be fine in our combat against the Covid-19 virus.

Now we're told to chew cloves with warm water in the morning and at night.

The claim goes that cloves oxygenate the lungs and prevent the lungs from getting a viral infection.

Browse through YouTube or your family WhatsApp group, and you'll be surprised by what you read.

It appears that there is now a high demand for cloves, or bunga cengkih. The sundry shop near my house always seems to run out of cloves.

The shopkeeper tells me that cloves are the one single item that is sold out every time they are replenished.

The funny thing is that I heard about the "magic" of cloves through an Indian-Muslim shopkeeper named Yusuf.

"Abang, awak tak tau ka bunga cengkih bagus untuk Covid-19?" (Brother, don't you know cloves are effective against Covid-19?"

I was stumped, which led me to browse the Internet, and I found that many Malaysians are now chewing cloves or drinking boiled clove concoctions. There's even a video of people in India inhaling clove-derived vapour from a bizarre-looking steam tube.

So when my son developed a runny nose and a slightly high fever, my wife had him inhale the vapour from water boiled with cloves under a piece of towel cloaked over his head.

It worked to alleviate the symptoms, but the fear of Covid-19 infecting the rest of the family is ever present. I told my son to get a swab test, just to be sure.

People seem to have a lot of advice on combating Covid-19 these days.

Many traditional concoctions have been unbelievably effective in making people trust in these home-made remedies.

The scare of the pandemic has pushed people, including yours truly, to do anything and everything to stay safe.

One claim talks about a concoction made out of simple kitchen ingredients — like freshly pounded turmeric, ginger and honey — which, when taken for five days, can crush the viral spread.

The same thing goes for those who consume black seeds, or habatussauda, or in Malay called jintan hitam, which are claimed to be able to protect  oneself  from the virus. They say black seeds help with respiration and protect the lungs from infection.

Pak Long, from Kedah, made a video advising those with Covid-19 to drink ketum concoctions. He says his friends, who had been inoculated but were infected by the virus, recovered when they consumed the liquid.

I believe that a coronavirus infection presents in people differently. While some suffer from a mild infection, others experience severe symptoms, hence a simple home remedy can't act as a "cure" for all.

Some medical experts say consuming traditional concoctions may only lessen some mild symptoms and boost immunity, and not fight the virus in itself.

While all of these are believed to be excellent virus fighters, which actually help fight a bad bout of cold, there is no truth to the claim that home remedies can cure Covid-19.

Hence, there's no stopping us if we want to use these ingredients. We can do so by consuming them in moderate quantities as immunity boosters or by adding them to our meals.

Turmeric and black pepper have anti-inflammatory properties, while honey is good for our immune system, and can relieve coughs and colds.

The World Health Organisation reiterated that herbal remedies are not anti-coronavirus medications as they serve as antioxidants and are effective in increasing blood flow. What these herbal remedies bring to people are just comfort and hope.

But really, we're surprised with the variety of concoctions that people have created since the pandemic broke out.

As I said earlier, it's the fear of the virus that drives people to do everything and anything to stay safe.

A safer and easier way is to get vaccinated so that herd immunity can be achieved. This is definitely a better way.