Gird your loins, all AA’s, malaria season has come (1)
By Femi Kusa
GIRD your loins, all GENOTYPE AA people. The season of Malaria is oncoming, the rain season haven comes with stagnant water here and there, and beckoning mosquitoes and their parasites to join the party. Even in Malaria parasites resistant GENOTYPE AS people, Plasmodium Falciparum, the parasite, may lurk around in the system for years and eventually cause cancer of the blood or of the organs. Girding the loins means stocking the herbal medicine chest with such anti-malarial’s and blood cleansers as Chanka piedra, Bitterleaf powder, Karela, Lemongrass powder, Brimstone powder, Neem powder, Papaya leaf powder, Stinging Nettle, Fagara, etc.
Being a GENOTYPE AS person, I self-deluded for years that mosquitoes could suck as much blood as they liked from me if they spared my ears of their sleep-disturbing hum. I could not recall breaking down with Malaria fever in 25 years even when some people around me were in and out of the hospital every month, losing work and business hours, spending money for cures and losing money from business hour losses. But I changed my “I don’t care attitude” the day I discovered I was living in A FOOL’s PARADISE. That was when I discovered the studies which suggested that damage inflicted by P.Falciparium on the DNA of the human cell, the genetic code, could make the cell become cancerous. The code is a formula that guides the cell to continually reproduce normal cells. A change in the code means a new formula that will cause the reproduction of different cells, in this case, cancer cells. This may be why BURKITT’s LYMPHOMA, in a B cell, is found widespread in malaria-endemic areas.
According to GOOGLE: “PREVALENCE IN NIGERIA. CURRENTLY, THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED 33,000 MALARIA CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE, WITH 110, 000 OF THESE CASES RESULTING IN MORTALITY. A LARGER PROPORTION OF THE MALARIA CASES THAT RESULTED IN MORTALITY IS LIKELY OCCURRED AMONG CHILDREN LESS THAN 5 YEARS OLD”.
Many of us treat malaria with kids gloves, although it is a big-time killer in Nigeria and worldwide. I guess that is because our education, right from secondary school, is focussed on speaking grammar, not on the human environment, and not tailored to give man, a lord of the Universe, Dominion over everything external to him. The story of what happens from when the Female Anopheline mosquito bites its victim, to when the unlucky person develops malaria fever or dies of it, is an interesting one. It is the Female Anopheline mosquito that bites, not the male. The female bites for blood, which it needs for its eggs to become mature. When it bites for blood, some of its salivae is injected into the tissue of its victim. It is this saliva that causes the pain that makes us realise we have been bitten. Inside the saliva is a dangerous parasite known as the PLASMODIUM FALCIPARIUM. There are many species of P.falciparium. Each one causes a different type of infection. These species include P.falciparium, P.vivax, P.malariae, P.ovale and P.knowlesi. In patients with P.Falciparium, the liver and the kidneys may fail. Convulsions and coma may occur. While P.vivax and P.ovale may not be as life-threatening as P.falciparium, they may hide away, dormant in the liver, for months or years, stealing out once in a while to cause reinfections.
This is our focus. In the saliva of the Female Anopheline mosquito, P.falciparium exists as SPOROZOITES. Once the sporozoites are injected into the bloodstream, they travel into the liver, say in their hundreds, to grow their population.
Once in the liver, a sporozoite steals a part of the membrane of a cell. In this location, sporozoites trick the liver cells to produce a protein called AQUAPORIN-3, which they normally do not produce. Rather, the liver cells depends on other forms of AQUAPORIN for water transport. As AQUAPORIN-3 helps the parasite to replicate itself, new anti-malaria drugs target it in the liver, not necessarily in the bloodstream, as P.falciparium had been developing resistance to old ones. Such new drugs have created new challenges, however. One of them is known to cause the dissolution of red blood cells in some persons, thus creating one of the problems it is meant to resolve. If undisturbed in the liver and if it has stolen a portion of the cell membrane and embedded themselves in pouches called the VACUOLES, stealing nutrients and growing the P.falciparium population, the stage is well set for a malaria mayhem. The parasite is soon dispatched into the bloodstream, where they get hold of red blood cells and begin to kill them.
From the infected liver, SPOROZOITES, now fully grown and called MEROZOITES, are dispatched into the bloodstream, to start the ERYTROCYTIC stage of the infection, which is an attack P.Falciparium launches on red blood cells. The attacks not only cause the death of these cells, but they also make the cellular membrane rigid, alter the discoid shape, make the membrane extremely permeable to all sorts of ionic substances. Perhaps worst of all is that damage to the membrane cells cause the mangled cell to stick or to gummed to endothelial cells, especially in small blood vessels. Endothelial cells line hollow tubes throughout the body. This gives the semblance of what happens in a Sickle cell crisis. Thus, without being a sickler in crisis, even a GENOTYPE AA person undergoing P.Falciparium infection in the red blood may suffer some of the symptoms of sickle cell crisis. This may include not only reduced oxygenation of cells and loss of some cells but the restriction of blood circulation as well. Even here, not only the pain of oxygen starvation may be evident…..some cells may die. The infected red blood cells are ingested by the parasites. The merozoites which destroy red blood cells may develop into GAMETOCYTES. These may be injected by a blood-sucking mosquito to start the life cycle of the P.Falciparium parasite all over. Meanwhile, the red blood cells destroyed by merozoites release toxins into the bloodstream. These toxins are the origins of periodic pains and fever experienced by malaria fever sufferers. Some species of P.Falciparium repeat this chill and fever cycle every 48hours, 72 hours while another can spike fewer pains every 24 hours.
About 50 years ago, researchers suggested that prolonged exposure to P.Falciparium may cause BURKITT’S LYMPHOMA, a type of non-HODGKIN’s LYMPHOMA. This is a fast growing human tumor in which the cancer starts in immune cells called B-cells. This should not be good news for Genotype AS people who treat the mosquito bite and Plasmodium parasite injection into their bodies with kid gloves because they hardly experience malaria fever. Long exposures to HEPATITIS-C virus and HELICOBACTER PYLORI bacteria found in peptic and other ulcers are thought to cause such genetic mutations as are linked to Plasmodium, and, therefore, seen as possible causes of lymphomas.
If Plasmodium infection red blood cells block small blood vessels in the brain, the brain may swell (Cerebral Malaria) or become damaged. Breathing problems, seizures and coma may follow. In some cases, multiple organs are involved with headaches, body aches, low blood sugar and repeated seizures.
Plasmodium may affect many organs. Kidney damage is possible. Rupturing of the spleen can occur. The liver may be overwhelmed by a massive breakup of red blood cells and be unable to rapidly fix the yellow content of these breaking cells, Bilirubin, the result of which is Jaundice, yellowing of the eyes, skin and nails and, in extreme cases, brain damage. In the eyes, severe malaria may impact about four effects. These are whitening of the retina, discoloration of blood vessels, blood leakages and papilloedema(swelling of the optic nerve due to pressure build-up around the brain). In other studies, P.Falciparium has been associated with cancers such as Kaposi Sarcoma, cancer of the cervix, Prostate gland, Nasopharyngeal Cacinoma and cancer of the liver. Some of these studies took place among populations where malaria was endemic.
Many Nigerians are ignorant about malaria. We only appear to know mosquito bites can make us sick. I used to not bother about mosquitoes biting me because my Genotype AS tended to protect me. When I learned that the accumulation of P.Falciparium in the tissues may predispose any organ to cancer through genetic damage. Observe Nigerians shopping for malaria medicines in a pharmacy. They often come not with a doctor’s prescription which is based on blood tests. They simply ask for the “best medicines” and the pharmacist or storekeeper gives them anything to move the product lines. Unknown to many people, certain drug medicines were designed for specific stages of the P.Falciparium infection. Some anti-materials have been found to destroy the red blood cells of some people.
To help the Genotype AA members of my family in the late 1980s, I resorted to well researched anti-malaria herbs, which have not failed us to this day. They stopped all those fearful boarding housemaster calls. I was with Mr ROGBA OKUNLADE at Babcock University graduation ceremony one day when the boarding housemaster at my son’s school, MODEL COLLEGE, KAKON, called me to say my son was critically ill and I should come for him “before it is too late”. I cannot recall here enough what Mr Okulade and I went through that day driving me from Ilishan through Sango-ota, through Ilaro, through Ado-Odo, through Badagry,…..to Kanko. We lost three tyres, bought dilapidated ones as replacements. I picked CHANKA PIEDRA anywhere I sighted it. I picked Pawpaw leaves as well. I bought bags of “pure water” and one bag of table salt to clean them up. I knew it must malaria I would be up against, and, sure enough, it was. He began to take these medicines right in the car on the way home.
Treating or curing malaria involves multi-lateral efforts. These include killing off mosquitoes in the environment to minimise constant with many of them, preventing them from getting into homes, offices and other residences, clearing the parasite from the bloodstream, the liver, the infected red blood cells, minimising or evaluating their presence in the tissues and organs, reviving endangered or overworked organs such as liver, spleen and bone marrow, making more red blood cells, improving oxygenation and blood circulation, building the immune count and anti-oxidant potential to erase free radicals and rid the blood of toxins.
Unfortunately, many of today’s pharmaceutical drugs have been overpowered by P.Falciparium. Accordingly, they are yearning for new and more potent drugs. Meanwhile, there has been a resort to the use of medicinal herbal plants and proprietary formulas derived from them with such success as had made them increasingly become the medicines of choice in many countries.
Nigeria has several dozens of these plants with proven clinical records. Some of them went through hospital trials in Okeigbo area of Ondo state. Some of these are…..ORUWO(Morinda lucida), AWOPA(Enantia chlorantha), AHUN(Alstonia boonei) DONGOYARO(Azadirachta Indica) and OGUNWO(Khaya Grandifoliola), outside these groups, there are Lemongrass, Karela, Pawpaw Leaf, Chanka Piedra, etc.
The bark of a tree, one of whose popular names in South-western Nigeria is Dokitaigbo(Forest Doctor), it gained more popularity in COVID19 fever treatment(please see COVID19: LOOK ALIKE SYMPTOMS JOIN THE LEXICON in www.olufemikusa.com). According to Google:
“Enantia chlorantha is reported to be used in folkloric medicine for the treatment of many diseases, such as malaria, aches, wounds, boils, vomiting, yellow bitter, fever, chills, sore, spleen in children, hepatitis, worms, intestinal spasms, sexual asthenia, jaundice, urinary tract infections, typhoid fever, leprosy”.
When I began to add the leaf powder of this brimstone tree to my son’s AloeLite protein milk formula, I stopped receiving phone calls from the boarding housemaster. Google says of Oruwo: “LEAF EXTRACTS HAVE SHOWN IN VITRO ANTIMALARIAL ACTIVITY AGAINST P.FALCIPARIUM WHILE IN SEVERAL OTHER TESTS, ANTI-DIABETIC PROPERTIES HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED. THE PLANT IS ALSO EMPLOYED IN CASES OF DIABETES, HYPERTENSION, CEREBRAL CONGESTION, DYSENTERY, STOMACH-ACHE, ULCERS, LEPROSY AND GONORRHOEA. THE MANY BENEFITS DERIVED FROM MORINDA LUCIDA IS OWED TO THE HIGH CONTENTS OF VITAMINS A, K AND E, ALKALOIDS AND OTHER PHYTOCHEMICALS WHICH ARE POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT BIOACTIVE COMPONENTS LIKE FLAVONOIDS WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE AS FREE RADICAL SCAVENGERS, HAVE ANTI-ALLERGIC, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANTI-VIRAL, ANTI-PROLIFERATIVE AND ANTI-CARCINOGENIC PROPERTIES”.
In 2002, I was privileged to meet the wife of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade during a traditional medicine conference in Dakar. Mrs Viviane Wade, a French, told me she taught Senegalese mothers to make an anti-malarial syrup from the pods of Dongorayo(Neem) tree because Senegal did not have money to import chloroquine. I brought home Dongorayo anti-mosquito candle made in Kenya and leaf powder of the tree to spray as a pesticide at home against rats and cockroaches in my pig pen and farm. Google briefs us about Dongorayo:
“Neem is a type of evergreen tree native to India. In Ayurvedic medicine, Neem extracts have long been used for a variety of health-related purposes including asthma, constipation, cough, diabetes, gastric ulcers, indigestion, periodontal disease, and urinary tract infection. Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels(cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease(gingivitis), and liver problems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions. Neem is a tree from South and Southeast Asia now planted across the tropics because of its properties as a natural medicine, pesticide, and fertilizer. Neem extracts can be used against hundreds of pests and fungal diseases that attack food crops”.
This is not a common plant medicine in herbal health food stores. But it is nevertheless popular among the rural African folks, as Google explains:
“Khaya grandifoliola, also called African mahogany, Benin mahogany, large-leaved mahogany, or Senegal mahogany, is a species of plant in the family Meliaceae. It is found in Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda. It is threatened by habitat loss. In many malaria endemic countries, like the tropics, the extract of Khaya grandifoliola is used as an antimalarial herbal remedy. Recent studies show that 90% of malaria cases around the world come from sub-Saharan Africa. People in these areas resort to medicinal plants for treatment because alternative medical resources are often low or unavailable. The bark and seeds of Khaya grandifoliola are the most common parts used for treatment and are extracted by infusion or decoction. The extracts have proven to fight against the P.Falciparum parasite, one of the vectors of malaria in humans”.
KARELA (MOMORDICA CHARANTIA)
Momordica Charantia, as botanists call it, is useful in the treatment of kidney stones, malaria, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other infections. It lowers blood cholesterol, regulates blood sugar level, is good for breathing challenges, relieves the stress of alcoholism, aids digestion, supports weight management, beautifies the skins and hair….and does lots more.
This is one of the most dynamic plant leaves from my experience. While some people prefer the juice. I enjoy the raw leaf as a salad in my meals. I cannot say here for want of space everything I’d like to say about it. Google summarises: “CARICA PAPAYA ALSO SIMPLY KNOWN AS PAPAYA OR PAWPAW IS A TYPE OF TROPICAL, FRUIT-BEARING TREE NATIVE TO MEXICO AND NORTHERN REGIONS OF SOUTH AMERICA. TODAY, PAPAYA IS ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY CULTIVATED CROPS IN THE WORLD. ITS FRUIT, SEEDS, AND LEAVES ARE FREQUENTLY UTILIZED IN A VARIETY OF CULINARY AND FOLK MEDICINE PRACTICES. PAPAYA LEAF CONTAINS UNIQUE PLANT COMPOUNDS THAT HAVE DEMONSTRATED BROAD PHARMACOLOGICAL POTENTIAL IN TEST-TUBE AND ANIMAL STUDIES. ALTHOUGH HUMAN RESEARCH IS LACKING, MANY PAPAYA LEAF PREPARATIONS, SUCH AS TEAS, EXTRACTS, TABLETS, AND JUICES, ARE OFTEN USED TO TREAT ILLNESSES AND PROMOTE HEALTH IN NUMEROUS WAYS. HERE ARE EMERGING BENEFITS AND USES OF PAPAYA LEAF….TREATS SYMPTOMS RELATED TO DENGUE FEVER, PROMOTES BALANCED BLOOD SUGAR, SUPPORT DIGESTIVE FUNCTION, HAVE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS, SUPPORTS HAIR GROWTH, PROMOTES HEALTHY SKIN, HAVE ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES, ETC”.
Forgive me, please, for all the plant remedies I left out. Guiltier will I feel if I do not remember ORANGE PEEL. Being a herbalist means your gardens and flower beds will be filled with medicinal plants and of course, mosquitoes. To chase them away from the grounds, I burn orange peel for about one hour two times a week. I eat the raw peel or sprinkle the powder on meals. Indoor, I spray Lemongrass oil in the rooms. I leave out insecticide body creams and may bathe with Lemongrass oil-infused water. The orange peel incense can become a huge industry if it is made into cakes or billets.
Finally, the insect catcher, gumming and fragrant and hung down from the ceiling in a spool, can trap mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies and other insects in all the rooms, thereby making the rooms more peaceful all day and night….. and safeguarding the family’s against P.Falciparium.
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