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Drinking garlic juice after a dogbite will cure rabies? ‘Herbal influencer’ makes wild claims, doctors horrified

Notably, India continues to be the country with the world's largest number of rabies deaths annually. Thousands of people in the country die of rabies after suffering days of excruciating pain and horrific symptoms of hydrophobia.

Stray dog menace has become a major concern in India with frequent reports of stray dogs mauling down people. Dog bites are the leading cause of rabies-related deaths in humans. While Rabies is a preventable viral disease, and there are appropriate scientific treatments for the same, once the infection sets in, it is 100% fatal and there is no cure for it.

Amid multiple reports of children and elderly being attacked and mauled by stray dogs across the country, a Herbal ‘influencer’ has stirred a debate on social media after claiming that garlic juice can cure rabies.

Responding to an X post featuring a video of three stray dogs attacking a young boy on the street, a herbal influencer who goes by the name “ChiefHerbalist” ‘advised’ netizens on 4th July that if they are bitten by a dog and need to treat themselves for rabies, they should drink garlic juice every morning and evening two weeks. The influencer with over 1 lakh 86 thousand followers on X, claimed that it would cure rabies.

“In case you get bitten by a stray dog and you want to treat yourself of rabies; Grind garlic and press juice into water. Drink the juice every morning and evening for two weeks. You will be okay. Nature heals,” Chief Herbalist posted.

The herbalist’s absurd claim about curing rabies with garlic juice alarmed the doctors. One Dr Krishnamurthy asked the herbalist if he would become the subject of an experiment wherein he would be bitten by a rabid dog and then would treat himself with garlic juice. The doctor added that if herbalist’s garlic juice cures rabies, everyone will bow down to him.

“Let’s do a simple experiment. We will arrange you to get bitten by a rabid dog. Treat yourself without getting rabies with garlic juice. We will all bow down to you,” Dr Krishnamurthy, the head of department of interventinal cardiology at Kauveri Hospital said.

In response, the herbalist expressed eagerness to be a part of such an experiment. When the doctor said that had conducting such an experiment not been illegal, he would have done it immediately, the herbal influencer asserted that the doctor is “running away” from his challenge.

Quoting the first post by the “Chief Herbalist”, Dr Krishnamurthy said, “Such people giving advice which endangers lives should be put behind bars immediately without provision for bail.”

An X user claimed that an acquaintance of his lost his life during the covid pandemic days after doing exercises shown on Instagram reels. The X user asserted that if someone follows the garlic juice ‘treatment’ to cure rabies and ends up losing their life, the herbal influencer would be to blame.

To this, the herbalist brazened out, “I also lost someone who took Covid vaccine recommended by a Doctor. Lol.”

In response to the herbal influencer’s garlic juice recommendation, another doctor advised people to visit a hospital and take necessary vaccines to prevent rabies. “Please visit the nearest hospital in case of dogbite and take the vaccine and immunoglobulin if needed to PREVENT rabies. Don’t wait to get rabies. Once you get it, you won’t have much appetite for Garlic lemonade,” the doctor said.

Can garlic really cure rabies? No, it can’t.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The RABV virus infection is the root of the ailment. The virus infects the central nervous system of mammals which ultimately results in brain disease and death. It causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and other mammals. Rabies spread from the saliva of infected animals. The majority of rabies in the United States are linked to skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. However, dogs continue to carry the rabies virus in many other nations, including India, and dog bites are the leading cause of rabies-related deaths in humans worldwide.

A detailed OpIndia explainer on Rabies, its causes, symptoms, prevention and medical treatment can be read here.

Notably, India continues to be the country with the world’s largest number of rabies deaths annually. Thousands of people in the country die of rabies after suffering days of excruciating pain and horrific symptoms of hydrophobia.

The number of human deaths globally due to dog-mediated rabies is estimated to be 59,000 annually. India is responsible for 36% of rabies-related deaths worldwide, according to the statistics of the World Health Organisation. 

Notably, some health and wellness websites do suggest applying garlic paste on the dog bite wound since garlic contains antiviral properties. However, it is not a proven rabies remedy. It is claimed that ancient Greek philosopher and polymath Aristotle also recommended garlic for Rabies treatment, however, blindly following any ancient remedy or a modern-day ‘herbalist’ can prove detrimental for the affected person.

Applying garlic juice or any other home remedy to a dog bite wound is not an effective or scientifically supported treatment for preventing rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that is almost 100% fatal, and immediate medical intervention is crucial.

The appropriate response to a dog bite is to thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. A healthcare professional will determine if post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for rabies is necessary, which includes a series of rabies vaccinations. Using unproven methods like garlic juice can delay proper treatment and increase the risk of infection and can even result in death.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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