Home-made broths to treat malaria? Scientists test vegetable and meat-based soups brought in by London school children and discover that they can stop the life cycle of deadly malaria parasite
- Of the 56 soups tested, at least five had the ability to curb the growth of parasites
- Two had skills similar to anti-malarial drugs, findings show
- The researchers do not know which ingredient in the soups was responsible
Scientists claim that homemade chicken broths and vegetable soups have the potential to treat malaria.
Researchers at Imperial College London tested 56 family recipes brought in by children from one primary school.
Two were as powerful as anti-malarial drugs in stopping the growth of the parasites that carry the killer infection.
Flavors varied from chicken to vegetables, which left the experts astonished about what the common ingredient for combating malaria was.
But the study suggests that natural resources could combat the deadly disease in the midst of the emergence of resistant strains.
A study that tested 56 broth family recipes found that at least five interrupted the life cycle of the most deadly malaria parasite (stock photo)
Professor Jake Baum and colleagues & # 39; s warned that the need for new drugs is essential to eradicate malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium.
Found in more than 100 countries, it kills around 430,000 people worldwide every year and infects nearly 220 million people.
The study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, is the first to investigate whether broths and soups provide the answer to combating malaria.
It follows the creation of artemesin, an anti-malarial that comes from Qinghao – used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine to treat fever.
Pupils from the Eden Primary School in Haringey, with different ethnic backgrounds, were asked to take samples of homemade soup broth.
The traditional recipes were passed on by generations in their family for the treatment of fever.
Of the 60 used bouillons, 56 met the correct test criteria, not too close to filter or heavy in oil.
The researchers wanted to see if one of the broths was able to stop the growth of parasites when they are sexually immature and unable to cause symptoms.
They also wanted to see if the bouillon blocks the parasites from maturing sexually, the point at which they become gametocytes.
Gametocytes circulate in the blood stream of a person with malaria. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it absorbs the gametocytes and can spread the disease to more people.
Filtered extracts from each of the 56 broths were incubated for 72 hours with different cultures of P. falciparum in a petri dish.
P. falciparum is the deadliest species that causes almost all deaths from malaria. Scientists have warned that it has developed drug resistance.
Five of the broths inhibited the growth of the sexually immature parasite by more than 50 percent, the results showed.
In two of these cases, the effect was comparable to dihydroartemisinin – recommended as first-line treatment by the World Health Organization.
Four separate other broths were more than 50 percent effective at blocking sexual maturation, potentially stopping malaria transmission.
The team also noted that many broth samples increased the rate of parasite growth or sexual maturation.
The recipes for each of the broths, which varied between vegetarian, chicken or beef, had no particular common ingredient.
The active ingredients in the broths studied have yet to be identified and tested in clinical trials, the researchers warned.
They said: & # 39; The usefulness of broth that is found to have antimalarial activity will, of course, depend significantly on standardization of soup preparation.
& # 39; This journey, which is similar to that of Qinghao herb artemisinin, may yet reveal another source of powerful anti-infective treatment. & # 39;
WHAT IS MALARIA?
Malaria is a life-threatening tropical disease that is spread by mosquitoes.
It is one of & # 39; the world's biggest killers and claims the life of a child every two minutes according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Most of these deaths occur in Africa, where 250,000 young people die each year from the disease.
Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, five of which cause malaria.
The Plasmodium parasite is mainly spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes.
When an infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite enters its bloodstream.
- Feeling hot and shivering
- muscle strain
These usually appear between a week and 18 days of infection, but can last up to a year or sometimes even more.
People should seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms during or after a visit to an area affected by malaria.
Malaria can be found in more than 100 countries, including:
- Large parts of Africa and Asia
- Central and South America
- Haiti and the Dominican Republic
- Parts of the Middle East
- Some islands in the Pacific
A blood test confirms a diagnosis.
In very rare cases, malaria can be spread through blood transfusions.
For the most part, malaria can be prevented by using insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers your limbs and using an insecticide-treated mosquito net.
Malaria prevention tablets are also often recommended.
Treatment that uses malaria medication usually leads to a full recovery if done early enough.
Left untreated, the infection can lead to severe anemia. This happens when the parasites invade red blood cells, which then rupture and generally reduce the number of cells.
And cerebral malaria can occur when the small blood vessels in the brain are blocked, which can lead to seizures, brain damage and even coma.
Source: NHS choices
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