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Smokers beware: No quick fixes to detox the lungs

Published on Fri 12 Nov 2021 at 11:21

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Despite social media posts declaring that “lungs can be easily detoxed after smoking” with homemade remedies, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claims.

By Tej Kumar

As the world observes Lung Cancer Awareness Month through November, it’s important to set straight the countless social media posts claiming that “lungs can be easily detoxed after smoking” with homemade remedies. Viral videos on Facebook and YouTube are promoting similar homegrown detox drinks, comprising ingredients such as castor oil, liquorice root, ginger, and peppermint.

However, there is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims. Consuming such home remedies may not be harmful to the lungs per se, but they can be damaging to other organs of the body. For instance, an excessive intake of liquorice can lead to serious health problems, such as increase in blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Similarly, consuming large amounts of castor oil orally can be poisonous. Symptoms of overdose include abdominal cramps, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

“Such unscientific claims can also increase the temptation to smoke more and cause more harm to smokers. Often, damage to the lungs is the main reason why many smokers quit smoking,” said Dr. Revanth, a consultant pulmonologist based in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

“Thankfully, the lungs are very good at cleaning and repairing themselves. We don’t need pills or homemade quick fixes. The best way to keep your lungs healthy to avoid harmful toxins, like cigarette smoke and air pollution, get regular exercise, and eat well,” he added.