AMBON, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture remains upbeat about its eucalyptus-based products, most notably the aromatherapy eucalyptus necklace touted as a Covid-19 antivirus, despite the questions raised against their efficacy against the coronavirus.
Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto is among those weighing in on the debate,
“If the [eucalyptus] necklaces and other products can strengthen their users' psychological and mental state against Covid-19, then there is no problem,” Terawan said in Ambon, Maluku province on Monday, July 6.
“Physical health will not be enough in facing the pandemic. Mental and emotional wellbeing are just as vital.”
The agriculture ministry official behind the eucalyptus products called on the public not to jump for joy just yet.
“We have been researching eucalyptus and over 50 essential oils since we heard the first reports of Covid-19 from China last January,” said Agriculture Ministry Head Researcher for Spices and Medicine Doctor Evi Savitri Iriani.
The ministry also carried out research with the Indonesian Veterinary Central Research (BB Veteriner), Evi added.
“[BB Veteriner] has had experience studying pandemics like bird flu and SARS.”
“They also have the common corona and other viruses for tests. We tested the latter, as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that Covid-19 is derived from has yet to be developed in a lab,” said Evi.
Seeking more answers
The head of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) Dr. Daeng M. Faqih remained skeptical about the eucalyptus necklace and related products.
“There should be more research to provide proof that the aromatherapy eucalyptus necklace can be used as an antivirus,” said Daeng.
But Daeng’s scepticism has not dampened the agriculture ministry’s enthusiasm.