Chinese state media People’s Daily slammed for claiming a ‘herbal drink’ can prevent Wuhan virus

Many Chinese thought the claim was a sham.

Kayla Wong | January 24, 12:50 am


People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Community Party, was criticised for claiming that a herbal drink could help prevent the novel coronavirus.

Drink consists of nine ingredients boiled in water

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Jan. 21, on its official Twitter account, People’s Daily claimed drinking a concoction made from a total of nine ingredients, such as honeysuckle flower, weeping forsythia, reed rhizome, black bamboo, and peppermint, could protect one from contracting the virus.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recipe requires boiling the ingredients in water.

According to People’s Daily, the recipe for the herbal drink was announced by the Sichuan Province Pharmaceutical Administration.

Not a cure

The post also emphasised that the drink should only be used as a preventative measure, and that it is not a remedy to cure one of the virus.

The post read: “If you already exhibit symptoms such as fever, please seek treatment at a hospital.”

Criticised for promoting the drink

People’s Daily was widely criticised for the tweet, as it was seen as promoting a bogus preventive drink.

However, it appears the post was an isolated one, as state-run media Xinhua News Agency has reported on the actual preventive measures one could take to protect against the virus, such as practising good hygiene habits, and wearing a mask when unwell or outdoors.

The list of preventive measures does not include drinking of the said herbal drink.

Here are some of the comments that denounced the claim:

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Twitter

“This mainly helps the masses stay calm.”

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Twitter


Comments questioning the TCM recipe were also found on Weibo, a microblogging platform that is highly-regulated by its censorship apparatus.

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Weibo

“Can TCM not fuel the fire.”

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Weibo

“I just praised the mainstream media for talking science, and now this comes out. Seriously.”

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Weibo

(Sarcastically) “Please get the word out about this even more! My dad doesn’t believe (the situation), and insists it’s just a ploy to sell more masks! Thank you! Believe in the nation.”

Nevertheless, there were still some who remained confident in the power of TCM.

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Weibo

“Why are there so many ignorant people in the comments section? Proper and professional TCM can work wonders, okay? Those who ruin the reputation of TCM are the scammers who cheat others under the cover of TCM!”

Screengrab via People’s Daily/Weibo

“The original recipe for “Yin Qiao San” (a form of temporary fever relief formula). I’m crying. Finally TCM is being recognised.”

Reply: “I nearly cried when I saw this. TCM is incredibly effective when it comes to curing fevers, and can even do what western medicine can’t do, but its name is dragged through the mud.”

Top image adapted via People’s Daily & Pixabay

About Kayla Wong

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