A message is being shared widely on social media with a claim that Dr. Li Wenliang (the Chinese Whistleblower doctor) has proposed a cure for COVID-19. It is being claimed that drinking tea can cure COVID-19 virus as it contains methylxanthines (caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline). Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Drinking tea can cure COVID-19.
Fact: While it is true that tea contains methylxanthines, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that drinking tea can cure COVID-19. Also, none reported about Dr. Li Wenliang, an Ophthalmologist, suggesting any such cure. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When searched about ‘Breaking News from CNN’ regarding Dr. Li Wenliang, the articles published by CNN on Dr. Li Wenliang were found in the search results. But, none of them mentioned about Dr. Li Wenliang, an Ophthalmologist, suggesting a cure for COVID-19. CNN reported that Dr. Li Wenliang is the ‘first medical professional to sound the alarm on the Wuhan coronavirus weeks before he contracted the illness himself and died.’ Dr. Li Wenliang died in February 2020. More information regarding Dr. Li Wenliang can be found here and here. Even other news agencies have not reported anything about Dr. Li Wenliang suggesting a cure for COVID-19.
In a research article, it was found that ‘caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline are the most well-known compounds of the family of methylxanthines and are naturally present in tea leaves, yerba mate, coffee beans, cocoa beans, kola nuts and guarana berries’. It can be also read that ‘the toxicity of methylxanthines in humans is relatively low and moderate consumption presents some health benefits’. But no evidence was found to say that they can cure COVID-19. More about Methylxanthines can be read here and here. Also, on the WHO website, it can be read that, as of today (28 April 2020), there is no cure for COVID-19.
To sum it up, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that drinking tea can cure COVID-19.
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