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Camote and dengue

By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
Here comes dengue again. This January alone, it already claimed the lives of two persons in Iloilo from ten time that figure that had fallen ill from it.
That reminds me of our son weakened and gasping 13 years ago at the emergency room of a hospital as we lined up examination. Diosa and I took turns coddling him; he listed when we sat down. He had little sleep and food the last two days; he woke up repeatedly, cried for pain in his stomach. He wanted milk only to vomit it as his fever alternately surged and calmed down.
Timely medical intervention saved him. At that time (1997), dengue claimed more than 50 lives in Iloilo, mostly children. We were ignorant of herbs that could have prevented those deaths or raise the afflicted’s resistance.
Dr. Glenn Alonsabe, regional epidemiologist at the Department of Health (W. Visayas), notes that the dengue virus have mutated into four deadlier strains and that it now spawns in murky pools instead of clear water as previously thought. Before, dengue cases occurred only during rainy months, May through September; today, it afflicts year-round.
I have written about the plant called “tawa-tawa” (Euphorbia hirta) as dengue cure two years ago when Iloilo, Western Visayas in general, shuddered from another spike in cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The web site http://www.foodrecap.net writes  that tawa-tawa does not kill the dengue virus. It only increases the sick’s blood platelets, thus, cushioning off the shock caused by low platelet count that the microorganism causes. It is the afflicted person, its strengthened resistance,  that eventually neutralizes dengue.
There is another plant available that could be of help to buttress our defense against dengue – camote.
May I invite readers to join this writer in browsing http://www.foodrecap.net  to appreciate camote which the site impliedly considers a “super food”. As cure for dengue, it works like tawa-tawa in increasing the blood platelets and beefing up a persons defense system.
Camote does more. It is recommended not only for dengue patients; it is endorsed to all who want to increase their defense against other diseases, among which: cancer, hypertension, cardiac ailment, diabetes, liver and kidney problems, and contamination of heavy metals.
I am no expert; I just have this hobby of browsing the internet to scrounge for information on improving public health. Camote is easy to grow. Its tops and tubers work wonders.
Government puts heavy stress on palay but is lukewarm on camote.  For economic and health reasons the vine deserves similar weight. As result, diligent Ilonggos are outnumbered by those who make raiding their neighbors’ camote patches a top industry. Mapisan mangayo pero matamad magtanom.
Of the few who cultivate camote, the more creative ones, as far as yours truly have encountered, are in Leon for their technique of growing them as side crop of papaya plants, thus, enhancing farm productivity. The vine restricts the growth of weeds that compete with papaya for nutrients.
More than that, its leaves and tubers are “(e)xcellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases” (http://www.foodrecap.net which based its story on the  report of the North Athlantic Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging).
Compared to other commercial vegetables, camote tops have the highest polyphenolics content. Camote  has high potentials in addressing malnutrition, particularly, among children. It “contains protein, dietary fiber, lipid, and essential minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, aluminum and boron” and “vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid” and Vitamins C, E, B2 and B6.
Eating camote is like ingesting in one package rice, meat, vegetables and medicines. It packs energy, protein, minerals and vitamins Its fiber cleanses the heart and the stomach. It detoxifies the body of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury that a persons imbibes/ingests from vehicular fume, cigarette smoke and consumption of commercially processed food, among others. It serves as “adsorbent” or as magnet that attracts and binds these toxins and expels them from the body before they harm any tissue.
Looking forward to the time when LGUs make camote farming an advocacy to promote public health and prevent diseases.

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