A fatal tropical disease, malaria is infectious in nature. It is primarily caused by protozoan parasites Plasmodium. There are basically four types of the plasmodium parasites that can infect humans and cause malaria, which are collectively known as malaria parasites. While the most serious forms of the disease are caused by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, the other species, such as Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae, can also affect humans.
Who is at risk for malaria?
Anyone can get malaria. Most cases occur in residents of countries with malaria transmission and travelers to those countries. In non-endemic countries, cases can occur in non-travelers as congenital malaria, introduced malaria, or transfusion malaria
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. Symptoms usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. Infection with one type of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma, and death. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.
Home Remedies for Malaria
1. Grapefruit is one of the most effective home remedies for malaria. It should be taken daily. It contains a natural quinine-like substance which can be extracted from the fruit by boiling a quarter of a grapefruit and straining its pulp.
2. The seeds of the fever nut plant are another effective remedy for malaria. They can be obtained from a herbal store and preserved in a phial for use when required. About six grams of these seeds should be given with a cup of water two hours before the expected onset of the paroxysm of fever, and a second dose should be given one hour after the attack. The paroxysm can thus be avoided but even if it occurs, the same procedure should be resorted to on that day and it will cut short the fever.
3. The leaves of the datura plant are useful in the tertian type of malarial fever. About two and a half freshly-sprouted leaves of this plant should be made into a pill by rubbing them with jaggery and administered two hours before the onset of the paroxysm.
4. Cinnamon is regarded as a valuable remedy in malaria. One teaspoon should be coarsely powdered and boiled in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and honey. This can be used beneficially as a medicine in malaria.
5. The herb chirayata, botanically known as Swertia andrographis paniculata, is also beneficial in the treatment of intermittent malarial fevers. It helps in lowering the temperature. An infusion of the herb, prepared by steeping 15 gm of chirayata in 250 ml of hot water with aromatics like cloves and cinnamon, should be given in doses of 15 to 30 ml.
6. Lime and lemon are valuable in the quartan type of malarial fever. About three grams of lime should be dissolved in about 60 ml of water and the juice of one lemon added to it. This water should be taken before the onset of the fever.
Diet for Malaria
1. Do consume a light diet without much cooking and without much oil and spices.
2. Do include green leafy vegetables as a major part of your diet.
3. Do include protein foods as they provide the energy required for your body’s repair.
4. Do consume milk as it strengthens the body and provides a channel for the toxins to flush out of the body.
5. Do consume old rice instead of new rice.
6. Don’t consume a heavy meal that would take a long time to digest.
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