Monday, 28 November 2011

MALARIA: India: search for herbal cures

Indian scientists, faced with the obstacle of a growing resistance to currently available drugs to treat malaria, are now looking for newer drugs in the Himalayas.

The search has yielded two potential anti-malarial substances which have shown promising results in laboratory tests. Scientists from Himachal Pradesh University have found that two herbs, popularly known as ice vine (akanadi and patindu in Hindi) and moonseed (giloy), have important anti-malaria properties.
The two herbs have been tested on mice that were artificially infected with malarial parasites, and have yielded promising results, said H.S. Banyal and Vikram Singh of the department of biosciences, HP University. It also did not show any toxic effects on treated mice. The findings have been published in scientific journal Current Science.
However, more studies are needed to identify specific ingredients of these plants responsible for anti-malarial properties.
Herbs have traditionally been a source of modern anti-malaria drug. Artemisinin, which forms the basis for the currently used anti-malaria drugs, was originally extracted from a Chinese herb.
The two herbs are already being used for a variety of medicinal purposes by local people.
C. pareira L or ice vine is a perennial herb. Its medicinal effect is mainly confined to its root. People often use its decoction for treating a range of ailments including malaria, cough, leprosy, stomach aches caused by indigestion and dysentery, and even skin diseases.
Tinospora cordifolia or moonseed is a succulent shrub. The starch from its roots is used to treat chronic dysentery, breathing problems, piles, ulcer, chronic fever, leprosy, snake bite and urinary diseases.

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