• How Potent is Lemongrass in COVID-19 Treatment?

    A viral WhatsApp message suggests that Lemongrass tea kills COVID-19.

    Lemongrass is not the proposed cure for COVID-19; if it were accurate, perhaps the altruistic Dr Li would still be alive today, presumably as a first-hand user and witness of the efficacy of the tea. More so, there is no proof of CNN’s involvement as no such publication or report has originated from the organization. 

    Full Text

    On 28th of April, a chain message, titled “Breaking News from CNN” surfaced on WhatsApp. This message, attributed to renowned Cable News Network (CNN), says the African Grass Tea is responsible for curing COVID-19 patients in China. It further named Dr Li Wenliang – the doctor Chinese law enforcement arrested for allegedly misinforming the world about the novel coronavirus- as the source. 

    According to the message, the chemicals present in the tea are proof of its efficacy in curing COVID-19. The substances, identified as  Methylxanthine, Theobromine and Theophylline allegedly, stimulate compounds that can get rid of the virus in humans.

    Dr Li Wenliang

    Li Wenliang is an acclaimed Wuhan doctor, who gained popularity for blowing the whistle on the new coronavirus at its wake in China. On December  30th, last year, he reportedly warned his classmates, in their alumni group, on messaging App – WeChat, to be careful of the virus. His friends, in turn, circulated his message, which he paid for immediately. The Wuhan Police arrested Wenliang for spreading misinformation. The 34-year old later tested positive for COVID-19 on February 1st and died on the 7th of the same month.

    African/Lemongrass Tea

    Lemongrass is also known as African Grass Tea and popular amongst the Yoruba as ‘Ewe Tea’. It is a tall/long stalky plant and contains several health benefits. Its medicinal values vary from country to country. The African grass tea, like every other tea, contains Caffeine – a type of methylxanthine that helps in controlling the airways amongst its other functions.

    Methylxanthine, Theobromine and Theophylline 

    Methylxanthines are drugs derived from xanthine, present in medications for some respiratory issues. They are a type of stimulants that include caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. 

    Theobromine is the primary bitter-tasting alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate. While its chocolate content is little enough to be consumed safely by humans; it poses a risk to animals such as dogs. Doctors utilise it as as a heart stimulant and a vasodilator (a blood vessel widener) which aids urination.

    Theophylline is one of the most widely prescribed drugs for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worldwide, and also has several other pharmacological effects, notably the stimulation of the pumping action of the heart and the dilation of blood vessels around the body. It is inexpensive and widely available.

    While these drugs do treat respiratory airway obstruction, no study has suggested that they are effective against coronavirus, not to mention SARS-COV-2, which also obstructs the lungs. Nonetheless, as it stands, scientists are still working on vaccines for the new coronavirus.


    Dubawa has checked many COVID-19 cure related claims, and they all turned out to be false. (check here) The reason is that health organisations are yet to establish a cure for the pandemic, although some vaccines are currently in trial. However, the World Health Organization has recommended preventive measures which include practices such as social distancing, frequent washing of hands, covering of mouth when coughing, and wearing face masks out of the house, etc.

    It is also significant to note that findings show that CNN is not responsible for the composition and dissemination of the broadcast message.

    Additionally, there is no evidence to prove the late doctor ever proposed the tea for treating the novel coronavirus as claimed by the BC. Ironically, the doctor who allegedly recommended the cure died of COVID-19, raising doubt about the integrity of the claim attributed to him. If the tea truly wards off the virus, what could have possibly held Li Wenliang from treating himself with it? This question draws attention to the possibility of malicious intent in the propagation of this message. 


    Using credible sources to strengthen an otherwise baseless claim is no new tactic. This strategy is a common practice of fake news purveyors. Lemongrass is not the proposed cure for COVID-19; if it were accurate, perhaps the altruistic Dr Li would still be alive today, presumably as a first-hand user and witness of the efficacy of the tea. More so, there is no proof of CNN’s involvement as no such publication or report has originated from the organisation. 

    Again, since there is no cure for the novel coronavirus yet, security resides in prudent scepticism of news relating to treatments and cure of COVID-19 that do not include statements of approval by WHO and other relevant health authorities.

  • Sub-Saharan Africans Are NOT Blessed With Coronavirus Resistant Skin or Blood

    Chinese Doctors confirm African skin resists Coronavirus infection, says and other sites

    There is no evidence to suggest “black people’s” immunity to the virus, or conversely “white people’s” vulnerability to it. The World Health Organisation (WHO) already stated that anyone in proximity to an infected person is at risk of contracting it (COVID-19). 

    Full Text

    The major outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan China has caused pandemonium with countries setting measures in place to curb its spread. Other than tackling the epidemic, the media now faces an onslaught of resultant misinformation.

    WhatsApp Screenshot

    Recently, a blog post said that Chinese doctors have confirmed that Africans have skin layers that are immune to the deadly covid-19.

    Other African platforms also published the story; platforms like CityScrollz, GHGossip, Kenyan Bulletin, Nairaland, CameroonIntelligenceReport amongst others.

    According to the post, a Cameroonian college student studying in China who contracted coronavirus quickly recovered “because of his blood genetic composition, which is mainly found in the genetic composition of Subsaharan Africans.”


    Coronavirus, which was renamed Covid-19 recently by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a virus that infects humans; leading to an upper and sometimes lower respiratory tract infection. 

    Does it mean Africans are safe? NO

    Findings suggest otherwise. While the premise is correct, the claim is baseless; just another conclusion circulated by online blogs. Moreover, no credible news platform published it. Besides that, no health authority announced this alleged discovery.  

    Isolated Incident

    Nonetheless, it is accurate that a 21-year old Cameroonian, Kem Senou Daryl studying in China became ill and was hospitalized shortly after contacting coronavirus. He was the first African in China to contract the disease and report a full recovery.

    Reports have it that the young man who was under a 14-day quarantine in the university dormitory said:

    “No matter what happens I don’t want to take the sickness back to Africa.” 

    Initially, he suffered from a fever, dry cough and flu-like symptoms; then was in isolation for 13 days in a local Chinese hospital. The doctors in the hospital administered antibiotics and HIV retroviral medication on Daryl for two weeks, after which he began to show signs of recovery. The hospital cleared Dary after the doctors conducted a CT scan and found no traces of the illness. The Chinese state also covered his medical care.

    Possibly authentic image, still

    Dubawa also performed reverse image verification on the pictures attached to the claim. Results revealed that they did not exist before February. Yet, to reiterate what we’ve established, it is an isolated incident!

    Black or White? Don’t Matter

    There is no evidence that black people were or are less susceptible to the disease. Anyone regardless of race who comes into close contact with an infected party is at risk. 

    If indeed it is true that people from African backgrounds are more resistant to coronavirus than others, one should expect it to be a significant news story. Instead, we found the story only on a handful of online blogs, calling its trustworthiness to question.

    PesaCheck interviewed a Medical practitioner, and the Doctor in a fact-check they published said:

    Excerpt from PesaCheck


    While Senou was the first African to contract the virus and recuperate from it, one cannot attribute his recovery to just genetics or a superior immune system. His healing was instead a function of medication administered, according to new reports. Although, according to Dr Kitheka, a healthy immune system does play a role in recovery.

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