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Aspidosperma NOT an Alternate to Oxygen, Viral Claim is Misleading

The medicine can only help in clearing temporary congestion and will not increase oxygen levels in people.

Updated
Fit-WebQoof
4 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Fact-Check | Homoeopathic experts said that the medicine can not be used as a replacement for oxygen in case the patient's oxygen falls.</p></div>
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A claim going viral on the internet claims that having a homoeopathic medicine called Aspidosperma Q 20 can act as a substitute for oxygen when oxygen levels fall in a COVID-19 patient.

The claim comes while there is rampant shortage of oxygen in the country and several hospitals, including some in the national capital New Delhi, have sent out SOS calls pleading for oxygen supply as they struggled to cope with the increasing number of patients amid the second wave of COVID-19.

However, we found that the claim is misleading. There isn't evidence to suggest that the medicine can be used to treat COVID-19 patients if their oxygen levels are dropping. We further spoke to homeopathy doctors who said that the medicine might help people with asthma and other respiratory disorders in removing temporary obstructions but will not increase the oxygen levels in COVID-19 patients.

FIT also spoke with chest specialists and pulmonologist who refused to comment on the medicine but opined that it was unlikely that a medicine alone can help in increasing oxygen levels in COVID-19 patients.

CLAIM

The claim going viral has a caption in Hindi that reads, "ऑक्सिजन लेबल गिर रहा है तो ऑक्सिजन मिलने का इंतजार मत करो ASPIDOSPERMA Q 20 बूँद एक कप पानी मे देने से ऑक्सिजन लेबल तुरंत मेंटेन हो जाएगा जो हमेशा बना रहेगा। ये Homoeopathic medicine है।*

Oxygen ढूंढने में समय बर्बाद ना करें"

[Translation: If the oxygen level is falling, do not wait to get oxygen. Put a few drops of ASPIDOSPERMA Q 20 in a cup of water. It will immediately balance your oxygen levels. It is homoeopathic medicine. Don't waste time finding oxygen.]

The claim has gone massively viral on Facebook and Twitter, archives of which can be found here, here and here.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/G4ZC-SGR4">here</a>.</p></div>

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

We also received numerous queries on the same topic on our WhatsApp tipline.

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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

We reached out to the Health Desk, a COVID-19 resource for journalists powered by public health experts, and several homoeopathy experts to find out if there is any truth to the claim.

According to the Health Desk, "Aspidosperma is a category of flowering plants native to South America, Central America, southern Mexico, and the West Indies."

The bark and leaves of the Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco are sometimes used as medicine, particularly in homoeopathic medicine, the Health Desk added.

However, they maintained that there is a lack of evidence to suggest that Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco is effective at treating any medical condition, including improving oxygen levels.

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We also reached out to several homoeopathy doctors and experts. Dr Bhaskar Bhatt, the former president of Homoeopathy Medical Association of India, told us that the medicine can't replace oxygen.

"If the patient's problems and symptoms require them to take the Aspisoderma, then it might work. There are nearly 20 other medicines like Aspisoderma that is helping patients with Bronchial Asthma, Cardiac Asthma and Oxygen reduction," Dr Bhatt said.

"But none of the medicines can replace oxygen. The capacity of lungs can be increased and improved but if there is a lack of oxygen, it needs to be supplied," he added.

Dr Nitin Samant, a homoeopathy doctor based in Mumbai, also said that while the medicine helps patients in breathing better, he has not used it to treat COVID-19 patients.

FIT also spoke with chest specialists and pulmonologist who refused to comment on the medicine but opined that it was unlikely that a medicine alone can help in increasing oxygen levels in COVID-19 patients.

The Ministry of AYUSH too called the claim misleading. "Fake post circulating on social media claims that Homoeopathy medicine Aspidosperma Q 20 can be taken as a substitute for oxygen when oxygen levels fall.," the ministry of AYUSH said on Twitter.

"A case requiring oxygen rehabilitation or medicinal support is solely dependent upon the discretion of the treating physician. The public is warned not to self-medicate in critical conditions," the advisory added.

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Evidently, the claim that the homoeopathy medicine Aspidosperma Q 20 can be used as substitute for oxygen is misleading. All health experts maintain that one shouldn't see it as a treatment for COVID-19 patients experiencing abnormal oxygen levels and critical patients should seek immediate medical assistance.

(This story has been published as a part of The Quint’s COVID-19 fact-check project targeting rural women. It was flagged to us by our partner organisation Video Volunteers.)

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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