Coronavirus myth busted: Mustard oil in your nostrils will not prevent COVID-19

When it comes to chronic diseases or severe (and unknown) infections, it is safer to stick to the recommendations of health practitioners.

Myupchar March 19, 2020 16:57:57 IST
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Coronavirus myth busted: Mustard oil in your nostrils will not prevent COVID-19

One of the latest myths circulating on social media platforms in India is about the effectiveness of mustard oil against the novel coronavirus . The post says that putting/applying mustard oil inside your nose can keep you safe from the virus for up to 8 hours. 

While mustard does contain some antiviral compounds, there is no proof so far that putting/applying mustard oil in the nose can protect you from coronavirus infection. Additionally, the nose isn't the only route of transmission. A study shows that the virus can transmit through any mucous membrane - like the ones of the mouth, eye as well as nose.  

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Home remedies are and have always been one of the most popular alternative methods of treatment for minor diseases, not just in India but all over the world. In a way, these remedies help prevent overuse of medicines. 

However, when it comes to chronic diseases or severe (and unknown) infections, it is safer to stick to the recommendations of health practitioners and not try to treat it yourself.

The many benefits of mustard oil

Mustard oil is prepared from the seeds of the mustard plant - Brassica. There are various types of mustard seeds that can be used to make mustard oil. 

Mustard oil is loaded with poly and monounsaturated fatty acids, which make it an excellent oil for consumption. It is traditionally used for various medicinal purposes such as to relieve cold and congestion. A massage with mustard oil or steam inhalation of a few drops of mustard oil mixed in water is said to reduce chest congestion and clear sinuses.

Studies show that mustard plants have sulphur containing compounds called glucosinolates which has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. Glucosinolates also improve the efficiency of antibiotic drugs - antibiotics are given for the treatment of bacterial diseases (not viral, like the coronavirus ).

Furthermore, mustard contains some magnesium and selenium, which are indicated to be anti-inflammatory in nature - inflammation is when an area becomes irritated, red, hot or swollen due to an allergy or infection. 

However, some people are allergic to mustard oil and ayurvedic experts say that mustard oil increases 'pitta' in your body. According to Ayurveda, excess pitta can lead to fever, inflammation and burning sensations. 

No medicines yet

There is no medicine so far for the novel coronavirus . In fact, most mild viral diseases (including common cold) are generally managed through symptomatic management. This means your doctor will give you medicines to help reduce fever and other symptoms until the disease runs its course. 

Antiviral drugs are given in some cases to help reduce the growth of (but not kill) the virus in your body, help reduce the severity of symptoms and to prevent complications. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that if you show signs of the infection, you should get all the supportive care to relieve symptoms. 

Various drugs such as remdesivir, chloroquine, favipiravir and arbidol are currently under clinical trials still to be used for the treatment of COVID-19 .

For more tips, read our article on  Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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