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A Whatsapp message forwarded to us by one of our reader claims that leaves of a Peepal (Ashwattha) tree can be kept in a bottled and smelled. This, the message claims, will help in increasing Oxygen saturation in the body. We have done a Fact Check on the same and found out the claim is Mostly False.
A Whatsapp message, forwarded to us by a reader, reads, “If the oxygen level is going down and there is no oxygen supply from anywhere, put 4-5 fresh leaves of peepal in a glass jar and close the lid for five to seven minutes. Open the lid and keep smelling it through the nose and mouth. Oxygen level will increase by 4-5 points immediately. You can do this method again and again. Placing a camphor tablet inside the jar has yielded even better results. Please use it yourself and tell others as well. Free and virtuous work”.
A snapshot of the circulated message is given below:
Can leaves continue to produce Oxygen if they are not attached to a plant?
Yes. Some leaves can. For few hours after they are picked up. However, it is a fantasy to be able to use such leaves to generate Oxygen equal to what is required by human lungs.
Leaves do not produce Oxygen by themselves. They require hormones, minerals from the plant to use the Chlorophyll and sunlight to create a process called Photosynthesis. Oxygen is a by-product of this process.
When leaves fall of from a plant, in most cases they have dried off and have lost their ability to continue doing photosynthesis.
However, for fresh leaves that have not fallen off naturally but are plucked from the trees, the photosynthesis process may continue in reduced scale for few hours till the leaf eventually dries off. This means, for some leaves, they may continue to produce little Oxygen for few hours after being plucked from trees.
John Hewitson from the Science and Plants for Schools, Cambridge, wrote, “In theory, the leaf will no longer photosynthesise as well from the moment it is picked. However, in practice, you are unlikely to notice any real difference during the first few hours”.
Will this Oxygen from the picked up and bottled leaf act as a replacement of medical Oxygen mask?
In average a single leaf, in normal condition of photosynthesis (i.e. when it is attached to a healthy tree and has enough water and sunlight) produces about 5 millilitres of oxygen in one hour.
In the normal oxygen mask, a maximum of 10-15 litres of oxygen are given per minute to a patient. In case of COVID patients, the requirement is even more and touches up to 60 litres per minute.
Hence, a few leaves that is already picked up from the tree (and is gradually dying) when being bottled up will never be able to match up to the requirements of Oxygen of a patient.
Can adding Camphor cause a increased production of Oxygen or can it have any added benefit?
We have Fact Checked a similar claim related to Camphor. Camphor doesn’t have any special ability to increase Oxygen production of leaves or Oxygen absorption in body.
Dr. P. Rammanohar, Research Director, Amrita Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda (ĀCĀRA) mentions, “While camphor is used in certain Ayurvedic preparations to treat cough and reduce phlegm in lungs, but this message has no scientific validation. Also, in such moments of pandemic, it is best to resort to scientifically validated treatment procedures rather than believe in hearsay.”
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