By J. Jala | 09:23 PM June 25, 2020
Photo: Shutterstock

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said that there is no scientific evidence that the practice of “tuob”( steam inhalation) can kill SARS-COV-2, the coronavirus that causes serious respiratory ailment Covid-19.

DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire even cautioned that such therapy may also lead to accidents.

“Nais lamang po naming bigyan linaw na wala pong scientific evidence na nagpapatunay na ang steam inhalation or paglanghap ng steam na may asin, lemon at iba pang sangkap ay nakakapatay ng virus na nagiging sanhi ng sakit na Covid-19,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing,

DOH’s pronouncement comes after the Cebu provincial government issued a memorandum, where it “enjoined” Capitol employees to make time for tuob even while at their respective work stations two times a day.

Immune system booster

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, through Executive Order No. 17, also endorsed the practice of “tuob” as a health regiment to boost one’s immune system to combat the virus that causes Covid-19.

In Bohol, the provincial Board passed a resolution urging the Technical Working Group of Bohol Inter Agency Task Force to study the efficacy and possible introduction of “tuob” or steam inhalation for Covid-19 infection.

Traditional “tuob”.

“Tuob” is the practice of steam inhalation where one covers his/her head with a towel, blanket or large piece of cloth to inhale steam from a small basin with boiled water infused with lemon, ginger, eucalyptus, or other ingredients.

DOH-7 regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas also said that while tuob serves as a traditional practice, it cannot cure COVID-19.

Bernadas said there’s nothing wrong if people resort to practicing “tuob” or steam inhalation, but it doesn’t serve as a cure for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“We are not promoting it, but we are not also prohibiting it,” Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH-7 director, said in Zoom meeting with reporters.

Regarding Garcia’s order, Bernadas said: “The order of the governor is to promote traditional practices. But I also presume that it was never put into a mandatory thing.”

“I know there was an executive order, but I still have to talk to the governor whether she has to impose it as mandatory or not,” the DOH-7 director added.

Vergeire then cited the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, which both denied that steam inhalation can cure the respiratory disease.

Vergeire said steam inhalation can also increase secretion in the nose, which may possibly spread sickness through sneezing and coughing of an individual.

But for those who still wish to continue practicing tuob, Vergeire gave this advice: “Kung nais niyong ipagpatuloy ang pagsasagawa ng tuob o steam inhalation, mariin namin ipinapaalala na kayo’y mag-ingat, lalo na sa pagkasunog.”

She said if symptoms persist or worsen, please consult a doctor after doing the tuob.

Vergeire maintained that washing hands, wearing face masks, physical distancing, and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing are still deemed as the most effective ways “to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Some use fresh herbs for “tuob.”

She also reiterated DOH’s warning against self-medication as well as doing certain treatments or prophylaxis claiming cure for COVID-19 that are not yet scientifically-proven or thoroughly backed by studies.

In a joint statement by the Philippine College of Chest Physicians; UP Medical Alumni Society, Cebu Chapter; Philippine College of Physicians Central Visayas Chapter; Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; UST Alumni Association, Cebu Chapter; Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society; Philippine Academy of Family Physicians; Philippine Dermatological Society; Central Visayas Society of Ophthalmology; Philippine College of Surgeons; Philippine Society of General Surgeons; Philippine Pediatric Society Central Visayas Chapter; Pediatric Respiratory Specialists of Cebu Inc., it said “steam inhilation does not kill the virus and may cause potential harm, we cannot, in good conscience, endorse its use as preventive or curative measure.”

According to “The Complete Guide to Health and Well-Being,” it said that inhalation help to hydrate, cleanse and stimulate the skin and nasal passages, and are recommended for some skin and respiratory problems.

In the book “Healing Wonders of Herbs” by Herminia de Guzman-Ladion, inhalation relieves inflammation and congestion of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. It relaxes muscles and thus relieves coughing.


Fill a bowl with near-boiling water and add 4 to 10 drops of essential oil.
Drape a towel over your head, covering the bowl as well, and breath deeply for several minutes.

Another method of inhalation is to sprinkle oil directly into a handkerchief or tissue—the health-giving scent can be inhaled throughout the day.

By Bohol Island News

Your reliable source of news and content in the island and the rest of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

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