No, a Concoction of Night Jasmine Doesn’t Protect You From Nipah
Beware! Don’t believe fake whatsapp forwards which claim to protect you from Nipah virus!
The Quint DAILY
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While Nipah virus has got the entire country worried, there are a lot of false whatsapp forwards doing the rounds which claim to treat this virus.
The latest is the one which claims that ‘making a concoction of 6 parijatha/night jasmine leaves is an immediate medicine for Nipah virus’.
It’s fake news you don’t need to trust.
Let us explain how Nipah virus actually works and why you must never believe such whatsapp forwards.
What is Nipah Virus?
According to the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus or NiV infection is a newly emerging infectious disease that causes severe illness in both animals and humans. The natural host of the Nipah virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Nipah virus is fairly new. The virus was first identified in 1998 in Malaysia and pigs were identified as the intermediate host. It spread to humans after they came in contact with pig feces and excretions.
Later Nipah virus showed up in Bangladesh in 2004, where humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
The symptoms of Nipah virus range from asymptomatic to fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, and coma. Treatment is focused on managing fever and neurological symptoms and offering full support.
There Is No Treatment for Nipah Yet!
There is currently no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent.
The death toll from the latest outbreak in Kerala rose to 16 on Sunday.
Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja had said that out of the 18 who had tested positive for Nipah, 16 had died but the remaining two were recovering.
What Stage Is the Nipah Vaccine At?
A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a USD 25 million deal with two US biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 16 people in India.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said on 31 May that Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions would receive up to USD 25 million to advance development and manufacturing of a shot for the bat-borne disease. But the vaccine is atleast 5 years away.
The experimental vaccine being developed by the biotech companies has produced promising results in animal tests, following more than 15 years of research by scientists at the US-based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Nyctanthes Arbor-Tristis or Parijatha Leaves
Now let’s examine the Whatsapp message that’s floating around.
As per some studies, parijatha leaves have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, anti-microbial properties and is considered an important element in Ayurveda.
Another paper published in the Biomedical and Pharmacology Journal states that ‘Parijatha or night jasmine is useful in diseases of spleen enlargement, round worm infestation, sciatica, fevers, bronchitis, rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases, hepatic disorders, haemorrhoids.’
Talking about the properties of parijatha leaves, Dr Partap Chauhan, Director of Jiva Ayurveda, says:
Parijatha is an Ayurvedic herb which has certain medicinal properties. As per Ayurveda, it is useful in controlling certain fevers which are caused due to the aggression of one’s kapha and vata. It also has certain anti-pyretic properties.Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda
But can it help you against Nipah virus?
The initial symptoms of Nipah (fever, cough, headache) are very similar to any viral infection. As per Ayurveda, parijatha can help control some of the symptoms of a viral infection. But there has been no research or trials conducted on whether parijatha can help treat Nipah. So it will be wrong to make such claims.Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda
Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist and Programme Director at Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital has a similar take. He says:
For any drug to be approved, randomized controlled trials need to be conducted which can prove its effectiveness. But no such tests have been conducted for this particular concoction. Though night jasmine is known to be helpful against running fever and dengue, there’s no evidence that it can help one against Nipah virus.
So should one consume such a concoction as a medicine against Nipah virus?
Dr Ashwini Setya feels it’s incorrect to make such claims:
The contents of this concoction (night jasmine leaves, pepper, lemon) seem harmless. But it’s important to understand that such mixtures may just act as an immunity booster but they can’t be a cure. In Ayurveda, concoctions are usually not directed at the virus, but they focus on eliminating the toxins from our bodies. So it might be far fetched to believe that Nipah can be cured like this.
Don’t Be a Webqoof!
So instead of forwarding fake news on Whatsapp, you could help spread awareness by sharing some factual information.
(With media inputs.)
(Not convinced of a story you came across on social media and want it verified? Send us the details at WebQoof@TheQuint.com and we'll fact-check it for you.)
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