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Hydroxychloroquine cannot be made at home using citrus

July 29, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Hydroxychloroquine can be made at home by boiling citrus peels in water.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is synthetically manufactured and cannot be made at home using citrus.

THE FACTS: A video circulating on TikTok falsely suggests that hydroxychloroquine can be made at home by boiling grapefruit and lemon peels in water.

“Today we’re going to make our own hydroxychloroquine,” says the woman in the video, who identifies herself as an intuitive healer. “This is all you need. You need three organic lemons and three organic grapefruit. You want the rinds. That’s where all the healing properties are.”

But that’s not how hydroxychloroquine is made.

“Hydroxychloroquine cannot be made by boiling grapefruit and lime rinds, or any other citrus rinds,” said Dr. Joseph Fortunak, professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences at Howard University. “Hydroxychloroquine is made by chemical synthesis ‘in the lab.’ It has never been reported as a natural product from any plant or animal.”

Fortunak said the process of boiling citrus rinds in water isolates a natural chemical compound called limonene, which has health benefits, but is “assuredly not hydroxychloroquine.”

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly touted the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 infection, but health experts and health agencies within his administration said the drug is not safe or effective for treating the disease, The Associated Press has reported.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536