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>Tawa-tawa cures dengue?


>The Beekeeper

BY PET MELLIZA

It’s not the ideal time to get sick and be hospitalized nowadays with private and public medical facilities filled beyond capacity. The district hospital at Guimbal, Iloilo had to erect a tent; even its corridors can’t accommodate additional patients.

So far, the accumulated figure of dengue cases since january in Iloilo Province alone, excluding Iloilo City, went above 2,500 with 13 deaths, which is still better than 1996 when the death toll shot above 50, mostly children.

This year, the Philippine Science High School at Jaro, Iloilo City, shut down for a week for fogging operation after a dozen of its students were infected by dengue. We don’t know how successful the procedur was.

The Department of Health scorns fogging because it does more harm than good; while it may help eliminate a generation of mosquitos, it does not the eggs which will hatch and spread the terror anew.

Fogging contains chemicals toxic not only to Aeges egyptii and Aedes albopictus dengue-carrying mosquitoes, but as well, to humans and other organisms beneficial to humanity, except for our heroine in the my series of columns, Virginia Palanca-Santiago, assistant ombudsman for the Visayas and concurrently the director of its Western Visayas office based in Iloilo City, who is being tagged in these opinion pieces as a “moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks”.

Private hospitals are cashing in on the windfall of patients, which is scandalous in these times of calamity. Before, they charged per room, now, it’s per square meter. Before, they charged patients per bed. Today, even if a patient lies on the corridor on styrofoam bed or pandan mat, he or she is still billed as regular patient without discount for the inconvenience they suffer on top of the ailment.

This time of calamity, private hospitals are calamities themselves. They further make a killing at the emergency room. One parent heaved a sigh after she was bilked P2,500. “What for?” she asked, “I already paid for the medicines, IV fluid, and blood test? Why I am still billed this much?” She still must pay for the use of the ER.

They arrived there about 8 am, and left the emergency toom at past 5. The ER was overcrowded and the doctor attended to her child at past noon. Most of the day, she was seated on a monoblock chair, her sick child in her arms as there was no available bed. They stayed there until notified of the availability of a bed. Unbeknowst to the hapless mother, the ER operates like a taxi, with a meter ticking by the hour. The P2,500 she had to pay that afternoon, is twice as much as the charge for a private airconditioned room for one day.

Despite the bad news of over 50,000 Filipinos stricken by dengue nationwide, there is still the good news: a plant that is potentially its cure – the tawa-tawa plant (Euphorbia hirta L.) is now making waves.

Lawyer Raul Tiosayco, who is not a doctor, is all for it. His son was already categorized as “stage three” dengue patient but it recovered fast. The hospital discharged him in three days to give way to incoming patients.

Atty. Tiosayco credited his son’s phenomental recovery to tawa-tawa which the latter took alongside prescription drugs.

There is no scientific study proving that the plant cures dengue, however, Filipinos found it as one. Doctros hesitate to endorse it but don’t prohibit it anyway even inside hospitals.

I just hope that the country’s premier science secondary, the Philippine Science High School, should look into the possibility of furthering the research on the healing properties of tawa-tawa and stop resorting to fogging whidh are useful only when the likes of assistant ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago are the target thereof.

A study done by high school students at St. Mary’s School, Cagayan de Oro shows that much hope awaits the plant. The student- researchers prepared tawa-tawa in tea-bags and applied it on Mus musculus or white mice.The platelet levels of the rodents increased as result.

Dr. Willie T. Ong who writes for the Philippine Star, cautions us that the plant could have side effects. However, he also believe that it does have curative effects. He advises us how to process tawa-tawa into tea. He writes:

“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 is how we do it:

“(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!”

Second the motion.

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