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Malaria is one of the most widespread diseases in the world, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.
There are three main types of malaria, depending upon the parasites which cause it They are tertian fever, quartan fever and malignant tertian malaria. The most common symptom of all types of malaria is high fever, which may occur every day, on alternate days, or every fourth day. The fever is accompanied by chills, headache, shivering, and pain in the limbs. The temperature comes down after some time with profuse sweating. The main complications of malaria are anemia, kidney failure, and dysentery.
Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite called Plasmodium. The parasite grows in the liver of a person for a few days and then enters the bloodstream where it invades the red blood cells. The disease spreads from a sick person to a healthy one by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. She draws a small quantity of blood containing the parasites when she bites a person who has malaria. These parasites then pass through several stages of development within the mosquito's body, and finally find their way to its salivary glands. There they lie in wait for an opportunity to enter , the bloodstream of the next person the mosquito bites. The malaria-carrying mosquito breeds in stagnant water.
According to naturopathy, however, the real causes of malaria are wrong feeding habits and a faulty style of living, which result in the system being clogged with accumulated systemic refuse and morbid matter. It is on this soil that the malaria germ breeds. The liberal intake of flesh foods, tinned and other denatured foods, and alcoholic beverages lowers the vitality of the system and paves the way for the development of malaria.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The herb chirayata, or chiretta, botanically known as Swertia chirata, 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.
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.
Alum is also useful in malaria. It should be roasted over a hot plate and powdered. Half a teaspoon should be taken about four hours before the expected attack and half a teaspoon every two hours after it. This will give relief.
The leaves of holy basil are considered beneficial in the prevention of malaria. An infusion of a few leaves can be taken daily for this purpose. The juice of about eleven grams of leaves of holy basil mixed with three grams of powder of black pepper can be taken beneficially in the cold stage of the malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.
Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of malaria. To begin with, the patient should fast on orange juice and water for a few days, depending on the severity of the fever. After the fever has subsided, the patient should be placed on an exclusive fresh-fruit diet for the first few days. Milk may then be added to the diet. Thereafter, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw vegetables.
A warm-water enema should be administered daily during the juice and water fast to cleanse the bowels. The best way to reduce temperature naturally during the course of the fever is by means of a cold pack, which can be applied to the whole body. This pack is made by wringing out a sheet or any other large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrapping it right round the body and legs of the patient (twice round would be best), and then covering it completely with a small blanket or similar warm material. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while the temperature is high and kept on for an hour or so. Hot-water bottles may be kept on the feet and against the sides of the body.
Malaria can be prevented by protection against mosquito bites, cleanliness of surrounding areas, and ensuring that there is no pool of stagnant water lying around.