Claims about tea being a cure for COVID-19 have been doing the rounds since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. While the popular drink may be beneficial for health in general, it certainly doesn’t have any curative powers against the deadly virus.
By Nabeela Khan
False and misleading information has been spreading on social media widely since the beginning of the pandemic. We, at Health Analytics Asia, have come across hundreds of viral posts, videos and messages over the last couple of months and have seen various patterns in this evolving narrative. One such message which continues to mislead people about the good old “tea”.
Earlier in March, a message claimed that 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. “Hospitals in China started giving COVID-19 patient’s tea three times a day,” read the message.
And then, there have been messages about hot lemon tea curing coronavirus. From black tea to Muellin tea, Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with viral claims about their curative powers.
A blog post claims that official research proves that drinking tea can kill the virus. The post reads, “First, in vitro virus killing tests were performed with tea water (2.5-10 mg/mL) with different concentrations, and boiled water and commercially available drinking water were set as the experimental control group.”
The post explains the entire research procedure and concludes that “the results showed that compared with the non-tea-treated virus control group, the nucleic acid proliferation of the new coronavirus in the tea-treated group was reduced by 10,000 to 100,000 times; while the boiling water and commercial drinking water control groups used for brewing, their proliferation. The condition is consistent with the virus control group, suggesting that tea has a good extracellular killing effect on the coronavirus”.
There has been no such research and scientific evidence doesn’t support the claim. Furthermore, there is no evidence that hospitals in China were treating COVID-19 patients with tea.
“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,” says a WHO statement.