Malaria (mala - bad, aria - air) is an infectious and parasitic disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium sp. transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito. Although treatable, malaria causes many deaths worldwide each year. About 40% of the world population is at risk of getting infected by malaria. Children under the age of 5 years are especially prone to the infection.
Causes: Malaria is caused by mosquito bites which transmit Plasmodium in the blood. There are at least 4 different types of Plasmodium sp, e.g. P. vivax, P. malaria, P. oval, and P. falciparum. The malaria caused by P. falciparum is the strongest type and causes severe symptoms.
Symptoms: Some of the symptoms of malaria include high fever with chills that repeat at regular intervals, body pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscular pain. Malaria caused by P. falciparum can also result in brain damage, liver and kidney failure, spleen and bleeding disorders.
Treatment: Malaria is treated by doses of anti-malarial drugs such as chloroquine and doxycycline. If treated in time, the patient usually recovers in a few days. Quite often, ayurvedic medicines are used to supplement, prevent and reduce symptoms of malaria.
The prime and most popular treatment is the use of Cinchona pubescents. A tea or decoction made from the bark of Cinchona tree contains the alkaloid quinine which cures malaria and fever.
A tea made from the leaves of Artemisia contains artemisinin, which is anti-microbial and helps cure malaria.
The root extract obtained from Naima, a traditional medicine found in Ghana can be used as a medicine to treat malaria.
A decoction made by mixing 250 ml of water with Charita herb and cinnamon reduces fever caused by malaria.
Boil a glassful of water and mix a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and black pepper. Cool it down, and add honey to taste. Drink till the symptoms are reduced.
Fenugreek seeds prevent and provide immunity to malarial attacks.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and a immunomodulator. It protects from the oxidative damage caused by parasites.
Cinnamon oil is effective against malaria.
The decoction of papaya leaves is also beneficial.
The decoction of leaves or stem bark of Latonia bone has antimalarial properties. It reduces fever and other symptoms of malaria.
Spanish needle (Biden piles) is the traditional remedy of malaria.
Ginger, cumin seeds, fever nut seeds, cloves, lemon are some of the other herbs helpful in treating malaria.
Prevention: Keep mosquitoes away. Don't allow water to stagnate and keep surroundings clean. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Use insect treated bed nets to prevent mosquito bites.