In September of this year, the province of Cavite has been placed under a state of calamity because of the increasing number of dengue cases. Sadly, there’s no medicine to treat dengue yet. But is there a natural treatment for dengue? What of tawa-tawa?
Tawa-Tawa as Natural Treatment for Dengue
Also known in the Philippines as gatas-gatas, tawa-tawa is a hairy herb that grows anywhere.
It’s an indigenous plant that may help in treating dengue in the Philippines.
To find out the truth about tawa-tawa’s ability to treat dengue, some students from the University of Santo Tomas conducted a study to unveil the anti-thrombocytopenic property of tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta).
The main goal of the study is to verify the real ability of this pant in treating dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
- The students injected drugs that could cause thrombocytopenia to rats. This will help mimic DHF.
- Then, they gave tawa-tawa to the sample groups.
- To check their platelet count, they collected blood samples.
- They also checked blood clotting times.
Results showed that the platelet count of those rats injected with drugs that induced thrombocytopenia rose to 47% and their bleeding times were reduced to 62%.
These students did conclude that tawa-tawa decoction could improve the healing mechanism of those animal models.
They also concluded that this plant promotes cell production while preventing destruction of platelets.
Furthermore, the study also showed the improvement of the rats’ bleeding time and clotting time.
It’s a proof that this plant can preserve and promote proper functioning of platelets.
What’s in Tawa-Tawa?
The students who conducted said study discovered tawa-tawa’s active ingredients, which are responsible for increasing platelet counts of those animals.
They said that it’s the phenolic compound of the plant that can promote quality and quantity of platelets.
Tawa-tawa is known in America as snakeweed. It’s used widely by the Native American tribes.
But they don’t take it solely for dengue. Rather, they utilize this plant as treatment for respiratory ailments.
This plant is also said to be effective in treating coughs, dizziness and colds. They chewed the plant and applied it to snakebites and insect bites and stings.
How to Take Tawa-Tawa as Natural Treatment for Dengue?
- First, uproot the tawa-tawa plants.
- Cut off their roots and wash them
- Boil a liter of water
- Add the tawa-tawa plants to the boiling pot
- Allow to boil for about a minute
- Cool the concoction first before drinking it.
Your platelet count will go up and back to normal after a few days of drinking this tea.
There are commercialized versions of tawa-tawa and they’re sold at some health shops.
But no one can be sure how effective they are compared with the fresh leaves that have been boiled.
Department of Health Cautioned the Public
Despite the many positive claims of tawa-tawa as natural treatment for dengue, DOH still cautioned the use of it in treating such disease.
For DOH, they’re not sure about the effectiveness of this plant to improve platelet count of patients with dengue. According to them, the best remedy for this condition is to seek immediate consultation.
They also recommended to increase fluid intake and to combine it with complete bed rest.
Despite the warning given by the DOH, more and more people are using the healing wonders of this plant.
The study of those students from UST may not be enough for DOH to recommend the use of this plant in treating dengue. That’s why they can’t endorse nor prohibit it.
There have been reports of tawa-tawa as an effective natural treatment for dengue. But doctors dismissed them. Now, some are getting suspicious about those doctors and hospitals that insist on the use of pharmaceutical drugs and prohibit the use of a local flora.
Papaya Leaves as Natural Treatment for Dengue
In addition to tawa-tawa plant, the papaya leaves may have an ability to treat dengue.
Unlike tawa-tawa, there are no studies that can verify the use of these leaves in treating DHF.
You may find the instructions here on how to make papaya leaves as treatment for dengue.
Patients with severe dengue fever should seek care in a hospital.
An IV fluid and electrolyte replacement may be given.
Patients’ blood pressure will also be monitored.
In case of blood loss, blood transfusion is necessary.
Medical Treatment for Dengue
As regards to prevention, there are no vaccines yet for dengue. That said, the best ways to avoid the dengue-carrying mosquito are the following:
- Make sure that your house is well-screened to keep mosquitoes out at night.
- Don’t go out at early evening, dusk and dawn. Mosquitoes at these times are also out and hungry for blood.
- Wear long-sleeved shirt, socks, shoes and long pants to protect your skin from being exposed to these pesky mosquitoes.
- Apply mosquito repellent. Clothing made with permithrin can be bought from specific stores.
- Reduce the habitat of those mosquitoes that carry this deadly disease.
It’s not easy living in the Philippines. Mosquitoes are found everywhere, even if your house is tidy and well-organized. And even if your house is well-screened, mosquitoes can still haunt you down and bite you.
Too Long Didn’t Read
I’m still not sure why Philippine doctors don’t want to endorse the use of tawa-tawa plants as natural treatment for dengue. If they’re looking for evidence that could show how effective they are, why not conduct a thorough study about it.
Now that dengue cases are rising again, our government should start gathering tawa-tawa plants and begin their investigation to confirm the results of the study conducted by those UST students.
Natural treatments are just in our backyard. The tawa-tawa plants may be weeds but they may save the life of your loved ones. After all, most medical drugs are coming from plants. So, why can’t tawa-tawa leaves be used as a natural treatment for dengue?
How about you? What do you think of tawa-tawa plants as natural treatment for dengue? Have you tried them out yet? Please share your thoughts.