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Back to Herbal Medicine: Tawa-tawa (Wild Herb) as Cure for Dengue

Updated on October 24, 2011

Year 2010: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or the very hot summer and drought were experienced in the Philippines. As the scarce rainfall came late of June last year, the perennial problem on dengue, also known as break-bone fever, deadly disease caused by the bites low-flying, daytime mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) claimed lives of mostly Filipino children and several adults.

The child of my cousin's friend nearly dies, if not for the cheapest, simplest and wildly-known as tawa-tawa. He boiled the entire plant (from roots to tip) then let his child drink its diluted concoction. Presto! It normalized the blood platelets count and they were spared of undergoing his child on blood transfusion. They were able to leave the hospital premise in advance of the doctor's advice that the child will stay longer.

With the alarming rate of death due to the dengue virus in this tropical country, the Department of Health issued an advisory: "Never trust the medical cure found on tawa-tawa plant. It was never been proven as a legit medicine for this disease." This was uttered by one official of the department.

Medical claims on tawa-tawa should be very timely, because of the recent victims of dengue that doubled this year, 2011.

Public hospitals are now being crowded of dengue patients, mostly children. Administrators of many hospitals and the Philippines National Red Cross (PNRC) are now bannering a campaign for blood donation.

Herbalists have other options, one of which is tawa-tawa wild herb.

This is what I did with my brother-in-law who already nose-bleed last July (2011). He was administered with blood transfusion but my mother requested that she be allowed to let him drink the boiled juice of Tawa-tawa.

Medical experts should take the hint.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti feeding on human blood
The mosquito Aedes aegypti feeding on human blood | Source

Dengue 101

Tropical countries are prone to dengue virus due to the presence of mosquitoes. Early detection of this mosquito-borne disease dates back late 17th century up to this day.

Aside from the Philippines, countries like China, Singapore and Brazil are now extending its research in order to combat the severe effects of dengue fever. Scientists of the said countries are formulating a vaccine that will slowly eradicate the harmful effects of the deadly mosquito bite coming from Aedes aegypti.

Things to Remember in order to detect Dengue Fever

  1. Febrile Stage - is when a victim (especially a child) have a fever temperature of 40 degrees Centigrade. Skin rashes and itchy feeling are apparent. Parents should rush him/her to the hospital. Most family households in the rural areas are hesitant to go to the hospital because of high admittance fee. Parents should never worry because public hospitals can immediately administer the initial treatment (intravenous fluids and all) in order to normalize the patient's condition.
  2. Critical Stage - is when a patient experiences chest pain, blood shock and bleeding. Dengue virus is now attacking the inner system of the victim causing hemorrhagic effects, like bleeding and low count of blood platelets.
  3. Recovery Stage - is when the patient recovers from the rigors of the first two stages. After the blood transfusion, doctors and nurses will monitor the stabilization of the patient, until he/she is ready to be released after a week or more.

Tawa-tawa herbal plant
Tawa-tawa herbal plant

Familiarizing with Tawa-tawa

You can be familiar with these local names of this wild herb. Gatas-gatas, tawa-tawa, snake weed, australian asthma weed or even botobotones. It is also called Beilschmiedia tawa.

It grows naturally in tropical countries, like Philippines. Before, I used to cut it along with the grasses. But when I realized its importance, I am now one of the believers that we should go back to herbal medicine for alternative cure. This is a healthy and sound advice. We can avoid the toxic effects of synthetic drugs that we used to buy in the drug store by benefiting on the benefits of natural home remedies.

Even, my mother now believes that it can lessen her asthmatic cough in the early morn by just drinking it like a hot tea. She said that it even eradicate her arthritic or joint pains.

So, there.

It is not a cure, per se, other skeptics will say.Others may say, it does not fight dengue virus. Sounds like a medical expert, right? It only promotes the development of blood platelets and softens the effect of the dengue virus.

Dengue Fever Treatment With Tawa-Tawa Plant c/o Kindguymd

Alternative from the expert

I asked the permission of Dr. Willie Ong to re-post his advice and treatment for dengue with the alternative use of tawa-tawa herbal plant. As of this writing, the word 'might' is used by Dr. Ong in order to encourage parents and relatives of the dengue patients.

Treatment for Dengue
By Dr. Willie T. Ong from The Philippine STAR

As you are probably aware of, there is no specific drug to kill the dengue virus. However, doctors can employ various supportive measures to strengthen the body so that it can recover from the disease. Here's how we do it:

  1. Patients are encouraged to drink lots of water to keep the body's water at an optimum level. If needed, doctors give dextrose fluid to prevent dehydration.

  2. Monitoring of blood count. Doctors check the hematocrit and platelet count regularly to see if there is a need to transfuse blood components.

  3. Consider giving medicines to prevent ulcer, since bleeding is a possibility.

  4. Encourage the patient to eat regularly, specifically soft, easily digestible foods. Patients are advised to avoid eating dark colored foods, because we need to monitor the stool's color. (Black stools means blood for doctors.)

  5. Tawa-Tawa plant might help.

In the Philippines, many patients are using Tawa Tawa plants to treat dengue. The Department of Health is still studying the effectiveness of this plant, and has raised concern over the possibility of toxicity with over dosage. However, doctors would usually allow patients to drink it if you ask their permission first.

Here's how to prepare Tawa Tawa:

(1) Take 5 whole Tawa Tawa plants;
(2) Cut off the roots, then wash and clean;
(3) Boil Tawa Tawa in a pot of clean water;
(4) Pour the liquid and then let cool;
(5) Sip 1 glass 3 to 4 times a day.

But remember, always consult your doctor first before undergoing any treatment. Our infectious disease specialists are still your best bet to get cured from dengue. Take care!


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    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      This is a most useful and informative hub about the tawa tawa herb. The photos and video are also most helpful.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Proven effective... my niece is hospitalized for 5 days due to dengue. A friend of ours suggested this. We cleaned and boiled its roots and leafs, strain it and put the water in the one-liter mountain dew bottle. We are advised not to show it to the doctors because it is not medically tested yet.

      A day after my niece consumed the entire bottle, she was discharged from the hospital because her RBC count soar high and her dengue is no more.

    • profile image

      Victor N. Rutor 

      6 years ago

      Hi ! My friend told me that tawa-tawa cured his iridium or eyes disease only after 1week. Did you heard that before?

    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      Good for you and your son, gmmurgirl. Most city dwellers are oblivious of the benefits of this lowly wild herb. In fact, its potency is now being recognized by doctors and further studies are being conducted to make its benefits in commercial scale.

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Shan Moore 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi! I believe in tawa tawa's effectivity. I think it helped my son recover from dengue last year.

    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      You're right, thesailor. It's been with the rural folks. They're the ones who know the uses of rare medicinal plants.

    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      Thanks, for trusting on this hub, johngabrielreyes2. I had to make this clear; I'm just a transporter of a good news. This is it. Trust in the Lord above and He will provide us awesome remedies at home.

    • thesailor profile image


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Might help. It's not yet final. But barrio folks are already using this ages ago and it helped.

    • johngabrielreyes2 profile image


      7 years ago

      I, tried using tawa tawa when by son got sick with dengue fever and I was surprised when his blood platelets increases from 162 to 198 only taking 2 glasses a day. Now I believe in the wonders of this plant.

    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      Thanks, Prasetio. This information went viral as the time really needs for new facts or maybe old but ignored ones, in order to fight dengue.

      This hub will really make you smile out of relief as the patient, once immediately given medical attention by the doctor and with the juicy supplement of tawa-tawa.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Wow....this was useful information about the plant that I had never know before. Very inspiring hub and I thought there are many natural sources out there and Tawa-tawa is one of the best herbal medicine. Thank for writing and share with us. Well done and vote up!


    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      Thanks, Don. It's been awhile since I've been off doing hubs. It is now being advised by doctors to the families of patients to incoporate ongoing treatment for dengue with tawa-tawa concoction. It's just like a tea. It really cures. :D

    • DON BALDERAS profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for this hub Arian Rey. This herb called Tawa tawa is abundant in our place, but its only thru you who introduced me to the plant. This is very informative, useful and will benefit readers and others by offering them the same information and process they can use for their protection and health.

    • Arian Rey profile imageAUTHOR

      Arian Rey 

      8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      Thanks, Ma'am Lita for your comment. Here in our place, people realize that the cure for dengue is locally available.

      And to think, it's also a good tea alternative.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      This is good news to people who want alternative cure for dengue especially those who can't afford the high cost of medicine. The tawa-tawa plant commonly gross almost everywhere in the Philippines. Now I have reason not to pull these plants as weeds from my garden. I've heard a lot about on-going research over this plant's effectiveness to stabilize platelets. Nice sharing,Arian!Useful, voted up.


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