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Can blended mango seed and honey ease asthma?

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Claim: An X user claims that taking two to three teaspoons of blended mango seed and honey will reduce asthma attacks.

Can blended mango seed and honey ease asthma?

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NaijaFarmer, an X  blogger, recently claimed in a post that consuming blended mango seed mixed with honey will help decrease the chances of one suffering from frequent asthma attacks.

The claimant listed a step-by-step process: “You need Mango seed and original Honey. Break the mango seed and remove the inner nut inside it. You will need to dry the nut either in the sun or by other means. When it is properly dried, blend or grind it. Mix it thoroughly with a small bottle of honey. Take 2-3 tablespoons of it before meals daily. Your ailment will improve.” 

However, the claimant added a caveat at the end of the post, stating that his post was for educational purposes and not medical advice. 

Since posted on April 21, 2024, the claim has gone viral, gathering 313,000 views, 1,400 likes, 1,600 bookmarks, and 67 comments.

Lamiposi Aizebeokhai, an asthmatic patient, attested to using this home remedy. Noting that bitter cola was added to hers, she wrote in the comment section, “I don’t even use an inhaler even though I have one.”

Believing the information put out, another user, Oseni Owolabi, appreciated the claimant while recounting his own experience.

Mr Owolabi said, “Thank you for sharing this, my Farmer. I remember back then in the university, a friend of mine had asthma, we had to be on alert everytime time to rush him to hospital. It is not a good experience at all.”

Another user, @Blacksodje, commended the poster for the information. “Asthma is really bad. You always have to be on guard. Good tip, but do not forget your INHALER this,” he said.

DUBAWA sought to conduct this fact-check, considering his followers’ trust in the remedy and its likely implication on public health.

Verification

Asthma is caused by inflammation and muscle tightening around the airways, making breathing difficult. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states it is “a chronic lung disease that affects people of all ages.”

WHO lists common asthma symptoms as a persistent cough, wheezing when exhaling and inhaling, shortness of breath (sometimes even when resting), and chest tightness. Triggers include dust, smoke, fumes, grass and tree pollen, animal fur and feathers, certain soaps, and perfume.

A 2010 study by four researchers confirmed that Mangifera indica (mango) has been an essential herb in indigenous medical systems for over 4,000 years. The research stated that various parts of the plant are used as an antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, stomachic, vermifuge, tonic, laxative, and diuretic. The study also established that it treats asthma, diarrhoea, dysentery, anaemia, bronchitis, cough, hypertension, insomnia, rheumatism, toothache, leucorrhoea, bleeding, and piles. 

The study, however, did not state a dosage or outline how various parts of mango can be used to treat the ailments above, especially asthma. 

In a 2017 article, a medical doctor, Debra Wilson, posited that honey could be helpful at night for people battling nocturnal asthma (nighttime asthma), which may lead to coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. Dr Wilson cited an animal study by Nurfatin  Kamaruzaman, Siti Sulaiman, Gurjeet Kaur, and Badrul Yahaya on how inhalation of honey reduces airway inflammation and histopathological changes in a rabbit model of ovalbumin-induced chronic asthma. 

The study found that aerosolised honey, when administered to rabbits, showed positive results, but the test still needed to be carried out on humans.

Experts opinion 

Johnson Udodi, a medical practitioner in Abuja, explained to DUBAWA that there is no proof that ground mango seed mixed with honey is an asthma treatment. He, therefore, urged asthmatic patients to avoid self-care and seek medical help. 

“While there are indications of potential therapeutic value for mango, there is no proof that ground mango seed mixed with honey in the manner described would be a remedy for asthma. Acute severe asthma can be deadly if urgent, effective intervention is not instituted. Avoiding the trigger factors and using inhaler preparations and other agents as directed by a doctor are key. Asthmatics are advised to see a pulmonologist for effective management of the condition,” Dr Udodi said.

Sharing a similar opinion with Dr Udodi, Gideon Luka, a senior doctor at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada Abuja, told DUBAWA that claims like these are mostly false. 

Dr Luka said, “Claims like this are often false and push patients into abandoning therapies that work for, thinking there is a cure for the ailment. Unfortunately, despite all these efforts at trying to enlighten people, they still fall on deaf ears because of our tendency to believe things that seem supernatural rather than scientifically proven or practical remedies.”

WHO and asthma treatment?

The WHO has stated that asthma is not curable. However, several treatments are available for managing this disease. Some of these treatments outlined in the WHO fact sheet include using an inhaler, which delivers medication directly to the lungs. These inhalers may be bronchodilators (such as salbutamol), which open the air passages and relieve symptoms or steroids. This would improve asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation in the air passages. 

People with asthma may need inhalers daily to reduce the risk of an attack according to WHO which further recommends using a spacer device to make it easier to use an aerosol inhaler. A spacer is a plastic container with a mouthpiece or mask at one end and a hole for the inhaler in the other. This helps the medication reach the lungs more easily.

Conclusion

There is insufficient evidence to support the claim that taking two to three teaspoons of blended mango seed and honey mixture will reduce asthma attacks.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fellowship, in partnership with Premium Times/UNILAG, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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