Natural Cures for Malaria

Cinchona leaves (Photo from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia)

Leaves and young fruit of noni or apatot

Malaria is caused by a protozoa that has varied life forms in human body and mosquito

Natural treatment of malaria

Quinine, derived from the root and bark of a cinchona tree can control malaria. Calcium elenolate (which is bitter) from olive leaf extract controls malaria (Walker, M. Olive Leaf Extract.1997).

There is a cinchona plantation in Bukidnon, Mindanao, which was the source of quinine supplied to Filipino and American soldiers in Mindanao and the Visayas, according to Tito A. Mijares, Ph.D. Mijares was assigned in Panay Island to bottle quinine concoction in WWII to combat malaria (from my interview with him for his biography as Academician under the auspices of National Academy of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology).

Quinine reduces fever in a bout of malaria. “Although quinine kills certain forms of the parasite that causes malaria,” it cannot kill the protozoan “in all stages of its life cycle” (Microsoft Encarta 2006 encyclopedia).

“As a final slap in the face to modern technology, the ultimate drug against malaria is still quinine, just as it was 300 years ago” (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006 Encyclopedia).

Noni extract controls malaria (Elkins, R.. The Noni Revolution. 2001)..Its bark is anti-malaria (Kaltsas, D.O.M., L.AC. 2001. “Noni: from legend to promising nutriceutical,” Alternative Medicine 2001.January:36,40, 109). Noni is a Polynesian term. The tree is also called apatot in Ilocano, a language of Filipinos. Noni tea, fruit juice and capsule are administered.

Mosquito control, A comprehensive control of malaria consists of controlling mosquitoes (insect pest control) and treatment of the patient. Mosquito larvae are killed by extracts from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica, or A. excelsa that is native to the Philippines). Smoke from burning neem leaves drive away adult mosquitoes.

The drug, Chloroquine kills the protozoan inside the red blood cells ((McKane, Larry. Ph.D. and Kandel, Judy, Ph.D. M.P.H. Microbiology Essentials and Application. 1993:390). Chloroquine is an analogue of quinine; it has been used for over 50 years now and resistance to it has developed.

Life forms of protozoa

Sporozoite, the infectious form of protozoa, is transmitted by bites of anopheles mosquitoes. Sporozoite goes to the cells of the liver, then to red blood cells where it multiplies – one sporozoite divides into as many as 40,000 new form called merozoite (McKane, Larry. Ph.D. and Kandel, Judy, Ph.D. M.P.H. Microbiology Essentials and Application. 1993).

Why does plasmodium target the liver? “In order to copy its genetic material and reproduce, the malaria parasite must obtain compounds similar to the vitamin folic acid from its human host. Antifolate drugs, which prevent the parasites from properly metabolizing these compounds, inhibit the reproduction of the parasites” (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006 encyclopedia).

Lack of folic acid results in growth failure and lessened DNA synthesis (Champe, P. Ph.D. and R. Harvey, Ph.D. Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry. 1987:319). No new DNA, no new merozoite. Folic acid is stored in the liver.

Merozoite goes to the bloodstream and attacks the red blood cells. It differentiates into ring-shaped form called trophozoite that reproduce asexually into thousands upon thousands of merozoites. After several cycles male and female forms appear that are sucked by a mosquito. Inside its stomach the sperm cell fertilizes the egg. Large rounded bodies split into hundreds of sporozoite that pass to the salivary glands of the mosquito (Pelczar, Jr. and R. Reid, Microbiology. 1972:342).

The mosquito transmits sporozoites again when it bites a man/woman, dog, or livestock. The female mosquito needs blood to lay eggs. Plasmodium falciparum is the protozoa that causes most cases of malaria in Asia. The plasmodium by harvesting ferrous stops normal bile pigment production, heme being a pigment, and it injures red blood cells resulting in hepatocellular jaundice, a symptom of malaria.There are four species of protozoan.

Merozoites go to the bloodstream and attack the red blood cells (as much as 60% of them) and change into ring-shaped form called trophozoite that reproduce asexually into thousands upon thousands of merozoites. Antifolic acid agents can stop this growth. Then the red blood cells rapture and release toxic by-products to which the body fights back with a 48-72 hour cycle of chills and fever. Serious symptoms of malaria are fever, chill, headache, nausea, jaundice, anemia, coagulation disorder, coma and shock.

After several cycles male and female forms appear that are sucked by a mosquito. Inside its stomach the sperm cells fertilize the egg. Large rounded bodies split into hundreds of sporozoites which pass to the salivary glands of the mosquito (Pelczar, Jr. and R. Reid, page 342). A man bitten by the mosquito gets these sporozoites that start another life cycle. The plasmodium may persist in the liver and trigger a relapse to another bout of malaria.

What is the nature of a chill? It is worth stopping here to consider this point. Chill is dreaded as much as the fever. Sometimes, the chill makes one more frantic than the fever does. Chill is a sequence of events in the body. One way body fights germs is to raise its temperature to slow down the microbe or kill it. Some germs die at 40C. So when infections becomes severe the mind gives the command for the body to raise its temperature. However, the body does not do it right away. There is a lapse between the command from the mind and body response. The lapse of time translates into chill (Bruning, N. Natural Medicine for Colds and Flu. 1998).

Hot and cold compress. Let’s digress a little bit. Sometimes when a patient gets a high temperature s/he is given the cold compress to counter the body heat. But this should not be done right away. The body should be given some leeway to fight the microbes its own way. However, temperature should not be allowed to go so high as to result in convulsion. Sometimes the chill is thought of as caused by extreme could. This is countered with hot compress to raise the temperature without benefit of the use of a thermometer. A thermometer would show that the body temperature is already high. The patient may be literally burned. While chilling, the patient may not feel the heat from the hot compress so s/he does not complain. It is only when the chill had subsided that s/he will feel the pain from the burn.



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