Two YouTube videos with thousands of views claiming use of alum powder, turmeric powder, rock salt can prevent the growth of mucormycosis are misleading and the claims in the videos are false. There is no scientific research to suggest that herbal remedies prevent or treat mucormycosis.
By Pushpita Dey
YouTube videos namely “black fungus ka ilaaj” (treatment for black fungus) shared on YouTube mention various home remedies like inhalation of steam or the use of alum powder, turmeric powder, rock salt or using mustard oil as nasal drops or using ghee (clarified butter) as eye drops to prevent the body from mucormycosis. The videos also point out various causes of the growth of mucormycosis in the body.
The videos claim that the use of steroids in COVID patients may lead to the growth of mucormycosis. Dr. Manojendra Narayan Bhattacharyya, Senior Consultant ENT Head & Neck Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata, said, “the growth of mucormycosis happens in an immunocompromised state in the human body. But it is not about the use of steroids rather unmonitored use of steroids is harmful. It needs to be used judiciously.” Moreover, it is not diabetes mellitus that leads to fungal growth rather it is the uncontrolled diabetes mellitus or other factors like post-transplant/malignancy that cause poor immunity favouring the growth of mucormycosis.
Dr. Vaidya Yogesh Drall, an Ayurvedic medical practitioner, Shodhan Ayurved and Panchkarma Centre, Delhi further confirmed that the claim made in the video - using alum powder, turmeric powder, rock salt to prevent black fungus is false. He said, “these elements have generic antifungal, anti-bacterial properties but no authentic evidence to show that these elements can cure black fungus.” He alerts patients having an immunocompromised situation like those suffering from diabetes, not to try any herbal or home remedies.
We further contacted Dr D Roy Pal, an ophthalmologist from Kolkata to understand the impact of mucormycosis on eyes in post COVID patients. She said, “The commonest variety of this fungus is rhinocerebral (sinus and brain) affecting nose, eye and brain starting with ache on one side of the face, nasal blockage, a dark discharge from the nose. It spreads to the eye and also the palate from there and then to the brain.”
“Early signs of mucormycosis could be double vision, dimness of vision or protrusion of the globe. And can be diagnosed by nasal endoscopy and microbiology.”
Dr. Pal discarded the use of any home remedies for curing eyes affected by mucormycosis. “Treatment is by surgery and anti-fungal medication. Strict control of blood sugar in diabetics is required and judicious use of steroids during COVID treatment is important”, she added.