YouTube videos advocate easy, home-based remedies that not only promise complete cure, but also prevention of future heart problems. However, there’s little scientific evidence to support any of the claims.
By Tej Kumar
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke.
Understandably, people are looking for solutions to heart problems. YouTube videos advocating easy, home-based remedies that not only promise complete cure, but also prevention of future heart problems rank high on popularity.
Here’s a look at two misleading claims made by viral YouTube videos in Telugu (each of these videos has more than 10K views):
Claim 1: Heart blocks can be treated effectively with home remedies. According to this video, if you eat Atibala (also known as Indian Mallow) leaves every day for three weeks, your heart blocks will disappear for good.
Fact: While there may be some evidence to suggest that Atibala can cause a reduction in the thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBARS) levels in the heart, thereby helping in the prevention of heart attacks, we need more research on the subject.
It’s also important to note that the pharmacological composition involves various mixtures and chemical configurations - not just raw or direct consumption of the Atibala leaves. However, such pharmacological composition processes are not always feasible at home. This is the reason why similar home remedies comprising juices of everyday fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, do not work miracles, despite possessing pharmacological potential.
Claim 2: The best way to keep your cholesterol levels in check is to consume a drink made of garlic, ginger and honey every morning, claims another YouTube video.
Fact: There’s no scientific evidence to support the claim. Incidentally, studies have found that that too much garlic consumption (above 0.25 g/kg of body weight) may actually be harmful to one’s liver. Similarly, while ginger is considered to be a safe herbal medicine, there’s an urgent need for more studies on animals and humans on the kinetics of ginger and the long-term effects of regular consumption.
Until then, it’s safe to follow the WHO guidelines to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and make your heart healthy: Stop tobacco use, reduce the intake of salt in the diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, undertake regular physical activity, and avoid harmful use of alcohol.