A new form of COVID quackery has taken over some people in India and one government school teacher had to pay the price through his life. Falling for the unproven "lemon therapy" to prevent COVID-19 or increase oxygen saturation levels in the body, a 43-year-old teacher from Raichur died.
Basavaraj was reportedly healthy before the so-called "lemon therapy" as per his family, but soon after he poured lemon juice into nose, he started vomiting and died while en route to the hospital. It is not clear what prompted the Ramatnal native to pour lemon juice into his nose, but recently, a transport tycoon from Hubbali had suggested that putting two drops of lemon in the nose can significantly increase oxygen saturation levels in the body and prevent COVID-19.
A noted industrialist and VRL Group Chairman Vijay Sankeshwar had recently proposed "lemon therapy" to prevent COVID-19 and increase oxygen saturation levels in the body. Speaking to local media persons on Sunday, Sankeshwar claimed to have tested the method himself along with his family members and 200 others without giving any supporting evidence. They all used lemon therapy to boost their immune system by putting two drops of lemon juice into the nose.
"Last night two of my senior officials had reported low oxygen levels. I suggested them to use lemon and within half an hour, their oxygen levels rose from 88% to 96%," Sankeshwar told the reporters.
International Business Times reviewed the claim about "lemon therapy" and found no evidence supporting its effectiveness. In fact, World Health Organisation and the United States National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine in their official websites have stated that there is no scientific evidence of lemon juice able to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"Lemon contains Vitamin C that is essential for your health, however, there's no evidence to show that it can boost or provide strong protection to the immune system," the websites said. And the reference here is if a person drinks lemon juice, not put drops of it in their nose.
While it's completely ridiculous to even consider pouring lemon juice into nose to keep COVID-19 at bay, there's no scientific evidence to even strongly support that drinking lemon juice or lemon water can protect you against COVID-19.
"The theory here is that the coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot live in acidic environments, so drinking or gargling with lemon juice or lemon water is thought to kill it. The idea is that by consuming lemon, you'll raise your body's pH level, which the virus cannot survive in. (pH is a scale that's used to rank the acidity of substances)," Pediatric infectious disease specialist Frank Esper, MD said, adding that the theory is wrong.
"The study found that the virus can, indeed, survive in acidic environments. So no, gargling with or drinking lemon juice or water is not going to be useful in killing coronavirus. It's also worth mentioning that you cannot change the pH level of your body just by eating or drinking something," Esper further added.
Based on these facts, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that lemon juice or lemon water doesn't prevent COVID-19. Putting lemon drops in nose definitely doesn't increase oxygen levels or protect you against COVID-19.