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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Tawa-tawa" - Antidote for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever?

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – A common weed named “tawa-tawa” has been said to be an effective cure for dengue.

Attesting to this are some villagers in Mindanao, who believe that decoction of “tawa-tawa” (scientific name: euphoria hirta) is said to be an antidote to dengue.

Is there any scientific evidence to such a claim?

Dr. Rafael Guerrero III, academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), cited the study of a research team of the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

According to Guerrero, Hazel Lopez and her co-workers at the UST College of Pharmacy have published a poster showing that laboratory mice treated with the decoction of “tawa-tawa” had an increase in blood platelets which are essential for blood clotting or anti-bleeding.

“Moreover, they found that the decoction was not toxic to the test animals even at a dosage of 483 milligrams per kilogram,” said Guerrero, who retired not too long ago as executive director of the Los Baños-based Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development.

In preparing the decoction, the research team washed and boiled 100 grams of fresh, whole “tawa-tawa” plant (including roots) in half a liter (500 milliliters) of water for 15 minutes.

[At the earliest sign of fever, take precautions...don't take it lightly. Strengthen the patient's immune system, let him/her drink IMMUNOL and VIRACARE.]

“After cooling and paper filtration, the decoction is taken by the patient at one glass every hour until the fever subsides,” Guerrero said in a published report entitled “The Farm as Pharmacy.”

In the old days when pharmacies were not yet heard of, forests, farms, and unmanicured gardens were the drugstores, said the academician of NAST, the country’s highest advisory and recommendatory body in science and technology.

“Except that nobody really buys the herbs and medicinal plants. They can just be freely picked from their stems as they grow in wild abandon everywhere,” he added.

Today, as the world screams for natural healing, plants, herbs, and weeds are slowly becoming alternatives for synthetic tablets and capsules.

“Sometimes, without us knowing it, what reside in our backyard or neighbors’ gardens can just be the perfect antidotes to your lingering illness,” he said.

Every year, Guerrero said thousands of Filipinos die of dengue or hemorrhagic fever caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes egypti mosquito. The disease is characterized by rashes, high fever, bleeding, and drop in the blood platelet count of patients.

Can “tawa-tawa” eventually become an antidote to dengue? Over time, further research can provide the answer to this question.

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