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Wrong, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass Oil Steam Therapy Can Get Rid Of Shortness Of Breath Due To Virus

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Monday, August 16, 2021 09:41 WIB

Wrong, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass Oil Steam Therapy Can Get Rid Of Shortness Of Breath Due To Virus

Narratives claiming first aid therapy for shortness of breath due to a virus circulated on Facebook. The claim was uploaded to this account on July 23, 2021 by writing the narration:

“First aid therapy for shortness of breath due to the nganu virus….
Prepare a small saucepan, water, lemongrass and eucalyptus oil….
Boil the lemongrass and pour a little eucalyptus oil, inhale deeply in the steam that smells of lemongrass and eucalyptus oil.

Do this therapy several times a day.
This therapy will eliminate attacks of shortness of breath due to numbness….

Water molecules will increase the oxygen level )…

This technique of entering the drug through water vapor into the lungs can also be done in people with asthma who are reoccurring.

God willing, you will not need a ventilator as long as you are routine and diligent in steam therapy…. Shortness of breath will quickly subside…. The virus in the lungs will die….

Thus, may all of you share as much as you can and do it as first aid if you experience an emergency shortness of breath due to aches and pains…. Hopefully many will be helped…..
Indonesian people are strong and able to solve their own problems…”

Until this article was written, it has received 35 thousand responses, 963 comments and 4.2 thousand shares.
So is it true that boiling lemongrass and eucalyptus oil and inhaling it can relieve shortness of breath due to viruses?

Screenshot of Message Claiming Eucalyptus and Lemongrass Oil Steam Therapy Can Get Rid of Shortness of Breath Due to Virus


To examine the above claims, Tempo’s fact check first traced information related to the working system of the virus in the human body and the content of eucalyptus and lemongrass oils.
Quoted from Alodokter, Viruses are small infectious agents that live and reproduce by attaching to host cells. When viruses enter the human body, they will attack the cells in the body and try to control these cells and multiply in the cells. Viruses can damage, kill, and change cells in the body. Viruses can also trigger the occurrence of a disease.

For the corona virus, quoted from Halodoc, when it enters the human body it will stick to the cell walls of the respiratory tract and lungs, then enter it to multiply there. The process will be detected by the immune system. After that, the immune system or immune system will react by sending white blood cells and forming antibodies to fight and kill the virus. When the body’s resistance reaction to the Corona virus occurs, several symptoms will appear, such as fever. These symptoms will usually appear within 2-14 days after exposure to the Corona virus. In some people infected with the Corona virus, the body’s immune system reaction will successfully fight the virus, so that the symptoms subside and the person recovers on their own.

While eucalyptus oil is a plant originating from Australia. In Latin this plant is known as eucalyptus or eucalyptus. Based on the Tempo news archive on May 14, 2020, this plant contains a compound of eucalyptol or 1,8-cineole which is a key component of the potential antiviral potential of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.).

The compound has been tested in the laboratory of the Agricultural Research and Development Agency (Balitbangtan) of the Ministry of Agriculture and has shown the ability to kill around 80 percent of viruses, including the Corona virus. The head of Balitbangtan, Fadjry Djufry, explained that the test process begins with finding a match between the active ingredients and the potential to kill viruses from the many essential oils available.

This test process is carried out by means of molecular docking or molecular docking through computational methods. “Of the many essential oils, one of them is Eucalyptus essential oil of which there are 700 species in the world,” he said as quoted by Tempo on May 11, 2020.

The test process to find a match through molecular docking was followed by an in vitro test at the Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. The active compound Eucalyptus can kill about 80 percent of the virus as he announced a few days earlier.

On May 5, 2020, the Head of the Research Center for Spices and Medicinal Plants (Balitro) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Evi Safitri, indeed stated, “The results of the in vitro test, 60-80 percent of the virus died. to another Corona virus.” Evi explained that molecular docking is a computational method that aims to imitate the interaction of a ligand molecule with the target protein in in vitro tests.

Quoted from Kompas, although it has active substances that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, eucalyptus oil has not been fully proven to kill the corona virus. Ingrid Tania, Chairperson of the Indonesian Traditional Medicine and Herbal Medicine Development Doctors Association (PDPOTJI), said that eucalyptus does have a number of active substances that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. “Indeed, there has been research that eucalyptus is effective in killing the betacorona virus, but not the Covid-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr Ingrid.

There are bioinformatics research on the active substance of eucalyptus against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this research is only a molecular docking or simulation on a computer. The simulation was carried out by equating the active substance molecules in eucalyptus with the SARS-CoV-2 virus protein molecules. “Indeed, from the bioinformatics research there is a match and can be used as a candidate (antiviral drug). But if it is called an antiviral drug for Covid-19, it cannot be,” said Ingrid.

In the official website of Gadjah Mada University, a lecturer at the Faculty of Forestry UGM, Rini Pujiarti., said that the claim that eucalyptus can kill the Corona virus cannot be fully trusted.

Quoted from the Electronic Journal of Atmajaya University, Jogjakarta, the lemongrass plant or Cymbopogon citratus DC itself is a plant that belongs to the grass family or Poaceae. This plant is known as Lemongrass because it has a strong smell like lemon, often found growing naturally in tropical countries.

Lemongrass plants can grow up to 1-1.5 m long, the leaves reach 70-80 cm and the width is 2-5 cm, light green in color, rough, and has a strong aroma. The citronella plant with the genus Cymbopogon includes nearly 80 species, but only a few species produce essential oils.

The chemical content contained in the lemongrass plant, among others, in the kitchen lemongrass leaves contains 0.4 percent essential oil. The main components of citronella oil are citronellal, citronellol, and geraniol. The combination of the three main components of citronella oil is known as the total compound that can be deacetylated. These three components determine the intensity of the fragrance, the value, and the price of lemongrass oil.

Reported by Kompas, Although the vitamin content in lemongrass is relatively small, lemongrass contains various minerals that help in medical treatment. Lemongrass is generally used by processing it into oil to treat headaches and musculoskeletal pain. Lemongrass oil extract is used as aromatherapy to treat muscle aches, infections, colds, or flu symptoms. In addition, lemongrass leaves can also be used to treat the following diseases: hypertension epilepsy stomach pain rheumatism fatigue antiseptic cough rheumatism fever diabetes

Meanwhile, based on the Tempo news archive on March 29, 2020, the Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Internal Medicine Specialists (PAPDI), Eka Ginanjar, denied that inhaling hot water vapor could kill the Corona Covid-19 virus.
Eka also considered this action useless. “Because this virus is in the body’s cells, even though it enters through droplets through the respiratory system,” said Eka when contacted by Tempo on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

According to this internal medicine specialist or internist, there is no official health research that can prove whether inhaling hot water vapor can kill the Corona virus. Until now, there is no official method for conducting this research.

Eka is actually worried that people will misunderstand, thinking that the tips circulating on social media are effective. This causes people to no longer do things that are important to prevent transmission of the Corona virus, namely washing hands with soap and running water or with hand sanitizers.

An AFP fact-check article containing verification of claims that hot water vapor can kill the Corona Covid-19 virus also explained the same thing. Experts interviewed by AFP said it would not treat viral infections, and could even be dangerous.

“Right now, the only way to ‘kill’ a virus is with an antimicrobial cleanser, which should never be inhaled or exposed into the body in any way,” said Jason McKnight, assistant clinical professor in the Texas Department of Primary Care and Population Health. A&M University.

“In general, a person may find that inhaling hot steam when suffering from some respiratory illness can help with the symptoms they are experiencing, such as coughing and nasal congestion. However, this only relieves mild symptoms and does not cure any viral infection,” says McKnight. .

He adds, “You have the potential to harm your eyes where the steam from the hot water can cause burns to your eyes, face and respiratory tract, which if severe enough can lead to serious and long-term complications,” McKnight said.

Benjamin Neuman, a coronavirus expert who heads Texas A&M University’s Department of Biological Sciences, agrees with McKnight. “The lungs are fragile organs, and water vapor is very hot. Hot steam can damage the lungs. Therefore, the idea that it can fight viruses that also damage the lungs is a very bad idea.”

Meanwhile, Karine Le Roch, professor of cell biology at the University of California, Riverside, said, “I really don’t agree that steam inhalation can cure infection. There is no magic cure. Researchers are trying their best to find a cure for infection. the virus. But it takes time,” he said.

Steam inhalation therapy to kill the virus is not included in the Covid-19 prevention recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to regularly clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser, keep a distance of at least 1 meter from people who are coughing or sneezing, don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth, cover your mouth. when coughing with folded elbows or a tissue, and isolate yourself if you feel unwell.

As for vaccines or drugs for Covid-19, so far, WHO has not stated that there are vaccines or drugs that can be used to prevent or treat Covid-19. Those who are infected only need treatment to relieve symptoms. Meanwhile, those with more serious symptoms should be taken to the hospital.


Based on Tempo’s fact check, claims that eucalyptus and lemongrass oil vapor therapy can relieve shortness of breath due to a virus are false. Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Internal Medicine Specialists (PAPDI), Eka Ginanjar, denied that inhaling hot water vapor could kill the virus.

The World Health Organization even emphasizes that the most effective way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is diligently cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based cleansers, keeping a distance of at least 1 meter from people who are coughing or sneezing, not touching the eyes, nose and mouth, Cover your mouth when you cough with your bent elbow or tissue, and isolate yourself if you feel unwell.

Those who are infected only need to get treatment to relieve symptoms. Meanwhile, those with more serious symptoms should be taken to the hospital.


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