KABUL (Pajhwok): Some social media users consider the use of peganum harmala’s smoke efficacious in treating the coronavirus, but health experts insist the plant’s effectiveness in preventing the pandemic has no scientific basis.
Recently, some social media users posted articles about the effectiveness of the rue in eradicating the disease, but doctors deny the usefulness of the herb against the deadly virus.
Spand as Covid-19 medicine
Menhaz, a Facebook user, posted: “Coronavirus drug found!! Dear friends, I recommend you to burn spand twice a day, in the morning and evening, to stay safe from the coronavirus. Hurry up and don’t worry, because spand can be found everywhere. Dear friends! Please share this post to let other friends know this.”
Another Facebook user, Safi Kohistani, posted wrote on his page in December a note titled: “The strongest prescription based on experience for Covid patients.” The post was liked by hundreds of users and shared by 1,900. Dozens of others commented on it.
In the post, Safi introduced and recommended spand besides some other herbs and medicines for the treatment of the coronavirus. Spand was useful for treating the shortness of breath, he wrote.
There is a widespread belief among people that the wild rue smoke is still used to ward off evil. The plant continues to be used for this purpose.
Shakila, 65, a resident of Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “I remember my mother and grandmother would use spand. They advised me to use it to get rid of the evil eye and kill germs.”
Khalild Amiri, who owns an herb shop in the Kart-i-Parwan area of Kabul, told Pajhwok spand was an antimicrobial plant that was usually used for better digestion and joint pains.
He said the plant sales were high in the early stages of the coronavirus. Before the coronavirus outbreak, he sold one kilogram of this herb a day. But during the pandemic, the herb’s daily sales rose to five kilograms.
Unproven efficiency against Covid-19
Dr. Syed Mujahid Hashimi, a professor of the medical faculty at Kabul University, said: “The use of spand is based on different beliefs, customs and traditions in different societies. Its efficiency, however, has not been endorsed by medical experts.”
“In our country, the use of spand has been a tradition for many years. It is burnt to smoke away the evil eye. In fact, the belief that it helps treat the virus is just a superstition. The disease should be treated scientifically,” the doctor suggested
He added the belief about the killing of germs with spand smoke has no scientific basis; it is not recommended by experts and has no role in the treatment of Covid-19.
Masuma Jafari, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Health, said there was no definitive and effective treatment of the coronavirus. Only a vaccine meeting scientific standards of treating the pandemic has been developed.
She urged people not to trust such posts and to pay more attention to practicing health guidelines such as washing hands with soap, using masks and observing social distancing.