Let’s go straight to the answer: It is a clear ‘no’.
“Ginger is a good ingredient to add in masalas, not a tablet during a heart attack,” said Dr Manjunath CN, renowned cardiologist and director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology in Bengaluru.
He was dismissing a video that recently went viral on Twitter, which instructed people to chew on ginger during a heart attack to save themselves from dying.
The viral video
Dr Manjunath clarified that such videos must be discouraged from being shared and he noted that “if a person is able to sit and chew ginger, he’s obviously not had a cardiac arrest”.
He jovially added that tears will roll out of his eyes but family members’ eyes if he/she does this in case of a heart attack.
The minute you realize someone is going to have a heart attack, then while waiting for Doc/Ambulance to arrive, sit them in this Heart safe position, & make them eat a piece of Ginger for 5mnts, till their eyes start watering. They will survive.
VC: BadaBusiness pic.twitter.com/XiucVzEHON
— Rach/PurohitasyaPutri/ಪುರೋಹಿತರಮಗಳು (@Bengaluruhudugi) February 23, 2023
In the video that went viral on Friday, 24 February, a man can be seen on the platform of Bada Business, an entrepreneurship programme, stating that the minute someone is going to have a heart attack, call the doctor/ambulance and while waiting, make the person sit in a “heart safe position” and get them to eat a piece of ginger for five minutes till their eyes water.
The man in the video says that this will cause vasodilation in the heart, leading to clearing of clots in the heart and causing the patient to survive.
Coughing, sneezing, eating won’t help
This video was shared on Twitter, which was then retweeted by others — many of whom raised questions on its authenticity.
However, several cardiologists, including a renowned cardiologist from Bengaluru’s Sakra World Hospital debunked this theory.
Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy tweeted, “Sitting in some position, chewing ginger garlic dhaniya mirch, coughing sneezing laughing. None of these will help in a heart attack. Reach a hospital with cardiac facilities as soon as possible to get appropriate treatment in #Heartattack to save life.”
He even made a video of the same and posted it on his Twitter handle.
Sitting in some position
Chewing ginger garlic dhaniya Mirch
Coughing sneezing laughing
None of these will help in heart attack
— Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy (@DrDeepakKrishn1) February 24, 2023
What can save a person during a heart attack?
Dr Deepak advised that reaching a hospital with cardiac facilities within the “golden hour” is the only thing that can help the suffering patient.
Agreeing with this, Dr Manjunath told South First, “If it is a cardiac arrest and there is no pulse found, then CPR has to be given, cardiac massage can be done, and a defibrillator can be used to help the patient.”
However, Dr Manjunath insisted that all this has to be done within the first three to five minutes of getting a cardiac arrest.
After which, even if the patient is saved, there could be a brain damage and the patient could live in a vegetative state.
But in situations of heart attacks, the patient should be rushed to the hospital as early as possible within the first three hours.
“If the patient has had a heart attack, they should be brought to the hospital immediately. Within the first three hours is the ‘golden hour’. However, one should know that every 30-minute delay in initiating treatment increases the risk of death by 7% in a heart attack patient. So, the earlier the better,” Dr Manjunath explained.
“If the patient is then put on anti-clotting medicines, injections and an angioplasty and stenting are done, then the survival rate is good,” he said and added, “Time is heart here. We must not delay treatment.”
Any medicine that can work?
While rushing to the hospital is the best option to treat a heart attack, Dr Manjunath explained that if someone has had an earlier diagnosed heart condition there is an option.
They could speak to their cardiologist and find out if the family members can be instructed to keep this “cocktail of three tablets” with them, to be taken in such emergencies.
However, he reiterated that reaching the hospital within the golden hour is most important.
Dr Manjunath said, “325 mg of aspirin, 300 mg of clopidogrel, and 80 mg of atorvastatin — these can be given as tablets only on prescription and suggestion of the doctor. The first two are blood thinners and is given in the hospital intravenously as part of treatment during heart attack.”