Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's claims that holding one's breath for thirty seconds to a minute can be a self diagnosing test for COVID-19 and another claim that applying mustard oil to one's nostrils can kill the virus in a person's stomach, are not supported by scientific research.
Ramdev made these claims in a 24-minute video conversation called E-agenda with Aaj Tak on April 25, 2020. A video of the interview can be seen below. At the five-minute mark, Ramdev suggests a 'self-test' for COVID-19.
He states that if a person with or without any ailments is able to hold their breath for 30 seconds or a minute without experiencing breathlessness, they are self diagnosing that they are not affected by COVID-19. He even demonstrated the same.
At the six-minute mark he recommended putting drops of mustard oil into the nose and claimed it would push the coronavirus into the stomach through the respiratory system where it would be destroyed by juices in the stomach.
Ramdev's claims were reported by many news organisations such as Free Press Journal and India Today.
Ramdev made both the claims in a interview with Aaj Tak on April 25. BOOM found that both the claims are not scientifically backed.
Claim 1: Holding breath is a test for presence of coronavirus
BOOM spoke to Dr. Jeenam Shah, a pulmonologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai to understand if a good control of one's breath is an indicator for absence of coronavirus.
"There is absolutely no study supporting this theory. The only way to detect coronavirus is through the RT-PCR test", said Dr. Shah.
The same claim was debunked by AFP earlier when several posts on social media advocated a self-test for COVID-19. Scientists that spoke to AFP remarked that the breathing technique as a method of detecting 'fibrosis' was incorrect as fibrosis is a chronic exposure developed across years and is not as quickly as in the case of COVID-19. ( Also Read: No, Holding Your Breath Is Not A Test For Coronavirus)The World Health Organization has stated that the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea and only one in five patients have difficulty in breathing.
Claim 2: Mustard oil pushes coronavirus to the stomach where it is eliminated by the juices and chemicals
The stomach does contain hydrochloric acid in the form of gastric juices but there is no scientific evidence or study stating that these juices attack SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, the role and impact of mustard oil on coronavirus has also not been studied.
Dr. Shah stated that there is no study or theory suggesting the use of mustard oil or any other oil which affects SARS-CoV-2.
A research study has stated the various benefits of mustard oil but so far there are no studies proving its use against COVID-19.
Mustard oil is proven to assist in digestion, reduce risk of cancer, maintain normal body temperature, has antibacterial and antifungal properties, strengthens red blood cells, maintains cholesterol, and reduces diabetes.
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