Tawa tawa

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Tawa Tawa Leaves & Flowers
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Tawa Tawa Leaves & Flowers

Tawa Tawa or Gatas Gatas

From the Republic of the Philippines
Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry


  • Euphorbia capitata Lam.
  • Euphorbia hirta Linn.
  • Local names: Bambanilag (If.); botobotonis (Tag.); bolobotonis (Pamp.); bobi (Bis.); botonis (Ilk.); bugayau (S.L. Bis.); butobutonisan (Tag.); gatas-gatas (Bis., Tag.); magatas (Pamp.); malis-malis (Pamp.); maragatas (Ilk.); pansi-pansi (Bik.); patik-patik (Sul.); piliak (Sub.); saikan (Tag.); sisiohan (Pamp.); soro-soro (Bik.); tababa (Bis.); tairas (Iv.); tauataua (P. Bis.); teta (Bon.); Australian asthma weed, snake weed, cat's hair (Engl.).

Gatas-gatas is usually very abundant throughout the Philippines in waste places, open grasslands, etc. It is pantropic in distribution.

The plant is an annual, hairy herb, usually much - branched from the base - these branches being simple or forked and ascending or spreading - up to 40 centimeters long, and often reddish or purplish. The leaves are opposite, distichous, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 1 to 2.5 centimeters long, toothed at the margin, and usually botched with purple in the middle. The involucres are very much numerous, greenish or purplish, about 1 millimeter long, and borne on dense, axillary, stalkless or short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes. The capsules are broadly ovoid, about 1.5 millimeters long or less, hairy, and three-angled.

According to Power and Browning, Jr., who conducted chemical studies of the plant, from the portion of the alcoholic extract which was soluble in water the following substances were isolated: (1) Gallic acid; (2) quercetin C15H10O7; and (3) a new phenolic substance, C28H18O15.

The aqueous liquid contained, furthermore a considerable quantity of amorphous glucosidic material, together with a laevorotatory sugar which yielded d-phenylglucosazone (m.,p. 218-220°). There were also indications of the presence of an exceedingly small amount of alkaloidal substance, but this did not permit of being further characterized.

The portion of the alcoholic extract, which was insoluble in water consisted of soft, resinous material, amounting to about 3.2 percent of the weight of the air-dried plant. From this material there were isolated: (4) Triacontane, C30H62, with apparently a little (5) ceryl alcohol, C27H56O; and (6) a new monohydric alcohol, euphosterol, C25H39OH (m.,p. 274-297°), which yielded an acetyl derivative (m., p. 295-297°) and a bromoacetyl derivative (m., p. 183-186°). Euphosterol is evidently closely related to the compounds designated respectively as androsterol, homoandrosterol, taraxasterol and homotaraxasterol, all of which appear to be members of a series of monohydric alcohols represented by the general formula, CnH2n0-10 O. Also present are (7) a phytosterol ( m., p. 132-133°); (8) a phytosteroin (phytosterol glucoside); (9) jambulol, C16H3O4 (OH); (10) melissic acid, C30H60O2; and a mixture of acids which appeared to consist chiefly of palmitic, oleic and linolic acids.

Among the various above-mentioned constituents of Euphorbia pilulifera there are none to which any specific physiological action may be ascribed. Such therapeutic virtues as the plant has been presumed to possess would therefore not appear to depend upon any single substance of a definite chemical character. Dutt remarks that recent chemical research shows that some of the constituents of the plant are similar to those of the jambul (Syzygium cumini) seeds.

Marsset, who studied the pharmacological action of this euphorbia extract, found that it had a depressant action on the heart and respiration and produced a relaxation of the bronchioles by its central action. She continues by saying that intravenous injections do not produce any vomiting, showing that the drug is a true local irritant. Its pharmacological action so far investigated indicates that its use in spasmodic conditions of the respiratory tract at least is rational. She continues that it has produced good results in dyspnoea due to asthma and emphysema.

In the Philippines the leaves are mixed with Datura metel leaves and flowers in the preparation of "asthma-cigarettes". Father Alzina reports that the latex is prescribed in asthma. According to Guerrero, the entire plant is used as an antidote, being considered haemostatic, sedative and soporific. In decoction it is very efficacious for allaying the dyspnoea of asthmatics. Its haemostatic action had been previously reported by Father Alzina, Father de Sta. Maria, Father Blanco, and Tavera. In addition, Father de Sta. Maria says the latex is esthetic.

According to Nadkarni, Dymock, Warden and Hooper, and Bocquillon-Limousin the fluid extract or the tincture is most suitable in dyspnoea due to asthma, in bronchitis of old people, in emphysema, and in the pulmonary cardiac disease, angina pectoris. Its action is not cumulative. Nadkarni adds that it should be given after meals. It is a very useful remedy for acute and chronic dysentery. The tincture is anthelmintic and is applied for cure of ringworm.

It is popularly used in Australia and other places for asthma and pectoral complaints. In India the plant is used largely in affections of children, chiefly in bowel complaints and chest affections. The milky juice is dropped into the eyes for conjunctivitis and ulcerated cornea.

It is said to be used in a decoction for gonorrhea in Brazil, possibly because it acts as a diuretic, and it is also used for asthma.

The root is given by the Santals to allay vomiting, and the plant is given to nursing mothers when the supply of milk is deficient or fails. In the Gold Coast it is ground and mixed with water for use as an enema for constipation. The herb is very much used in La Reunion as an astringent in chronic diarrheas and dysenteries. The roots are employed in intermittent fevers.

Using Tawa Tawa for simple Fevers or Dengue Fever

By: Frank Maletsky

  1. Pick the fresh tawa-tawa leaves (8 inches long stems and about a dozen). Simply cut the stem which will normally come with the leaves and flowers. Do not pick the ones with brown leaves. Wash them with fresh water to remove dirt. Pound what you have collected in a mortar and pestle. Prepare boiling hot water. Pour the boiling water (10oz.) directly into the mortar (container). Let it cool down, then pour the contents using a strainer into a bowl or tall glass (10 oz.), squeeze out all the juice from the solids. Make enough to last the whole day. One glass every 4 hours.
    • The first 10 oz. glass will produce immediate positive results within 2 hours. Fever will be reduced. Maintain hydration.
  2. Tawa-Tawa Tea: Cleaned and Dried tawa-tawa leaves can be made into tea. Dry the tawa tawa leaves and store them in a clean sealed glass container. You can use the dried leaves as is or crushed.

Where can Tawa Tawa be found?

Tawa Tawa grows in all tropical areas as a wild weed. I was in Orlando, Florida and i saw tawa tawa growing wild. I always keep a few growing in my garden. I even use tawa-tawa as an add-on to some of my potted plants.

News About Tawa Tawa

Davao students wins first prize for research on antidengue property of papaya and tawa-tawa


Student-researchers bagged first prize at the Gruppo Medica Award for their research on the anti-dengue property of papaya (Carica papaya) and tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) during the 8th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week celebration in Cebu City on 12-14 August 2014.

Topping 21 research entries from all regions in the Philippines, the research done by Pharmacy students at the San Pedro College in Davao City revealed that tea concoction from tawa-tawa can increase blood platelet counts in rabbits by 194% in just 24 hours.

Results on tests done on tea concoctions from papaya leaves only and mixture of papaya leaves and tawa-tawa plant also significantly increased platelet counts in rabbits within 24 hours.

Further laboratory tests on papaya and tawa-tawa revealed that both plants contain quercetin, a plant pigment known to naturally increase the platelet counts.

Recommending the continuation of the research, especially with the isolation of quercetin, the students stressed that the study is significant in the effort to develop treatment for the management of dengue. They said, “This research can benefit the society because it will pave the way to the development of new drug that is affordable, accessible, and effective against dengue.”

The Gruppo Medica Award is conferred annually by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) to give recognition to undergraduate researches on the practical or commercial application of herbal plants for health.

Tawa-tawa and Dengue Fever

(Green Hearts)

My son was diagnosed with Dengue fever a couple of weeks ago. With normal results for platelet count being 140,000 - 400,000 per microliter (mcL), his was at 131,000 on the second day of his fever.

Before panic could rise, I got reassuring advice from friends and kasambahays to try out this herb known as tawa-tawa. They said that tea made from this common plant had been featured in the news as a promising cure for dengue.

When we went home to pack for my son’s confinement in the hospital, I snuck in a quick internet search. From the website of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), I learned that in 2012, students of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy had conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models.” In layman’s terms, they used a cocktail of chemicals to duplicate dengue hemorrhagic fever in rats. It was to test widespread anecdotal evidence of tawa-tawa’s ability to heal people with dengue, thus turning into it the Philippines’ most popular folkloric treatment against this life-threatening disease.

In a nutshell, the study proved that tawa-tawa can increase platelet count, reduce bleeding time and decrease blood clotting time. The UST students’ conclusion: Tawa-tawa can, indeed, help improve the healing mechanism. At least, among rodents.

On the other hand, GMA News Online reported in a post dated Sept. 2010 that Dr. Eric Tayag of the National Epidemiology Center of The Department of Health (DOH) had cautioned that drinking tawa-tawa could “potentially aggravate” the condition by inducing peeing which could lead to further dehydration.

But a year later, in Aug. 2011, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that, according to Health Secretary Enrique Ona, “very preliminary” results from initial research work show that tawa-tawa “appears” to have “some effects” on rehydration. But he made it clear that the DOH was not making any official recommendations and stressed the importance of immediately seeing a doctor. “Don’t depend on tawa-tawa,” Ona had said.

I Googled further and found an even more recent post, also from GMA News Online dated Feb 2013, saying DOH had stated that although the tawa-tawa herb has not been proven to cure dengue, it may be taken along with effective medication and had been evaluated free of toxic substances, so it was deemed safe. In addition, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH manager for the Dengue Control and Prevention Program had explained that drinking steeped tawa-tawa is “fluid replacement, which is basically the thrust for dengue [medication].” In another article on the PCHRD website, Ona said that the DOH does not endorse tawa-tawa “but at the same time we are not prohibiting it”.

All right, so with a gap of three years, the herb had gone from “potentially aggravating dehydration” to “fluid replacement”. And the DOH was neither endorsing nor prohibiting.

I sighed and looked up from my computer and realized it was time to leave for the hospital. As I rushed towards the door, concerned kasambahays stood by, thermos in hand. At their own initiative, they had gathered tawa-tawa from our backyard and made my son enough infusion for a day. My husband and I took the thermos gratefully.

At the hospital, I asked a resident about the use of tawa-tawa and the response was pretty much seated on the fence right next to DOH. They see no harm in us having our son drink it, if it will make us feel better. On-going studies, she said, had deemed it to be safe. (But not exactly helpful, I believe, was her unspoken last sentence.)

Before my son’s first drink of tawa-tawa could take effect, medical personnel took another CBC. His platelet count had gone down to 101,000. For the rest of the day, my son finished the contents of his thermos. The next day, his platelet count went down to 100,000, a drop of only 1,000! We continued with the tawa-tawa, and on the next day, his platelet count even went up to 110,000. I was convinced the tawa-tawa was working. But later, I realized, I was looking at the wrong factor.

Keeping a “platelet count watch” is not the point of dengue treatment. What matters is his hematocrit count, which, in essence gives the doctors a reading of the patient’s dehydration level. Dengue is a disease of dehydration. Metaphorically, it’s “diarrhea of the blood vessels”.Fluids are not lost visibly, as with vomiting or LBM, but rather through insensible plasma leakage. And based on the blood tests, my son’s hematocrit level was not looking good. His blood was getting too thick.

For the first three days, I had my son drink the herbal infusion several times a day. But this was done only as additional fluid replacement, on top of the IV, oral rehydration solution, and lots of water. On the fourth day, his platelet count went down again and, despite massive intake of fluid, his hematocrit level didn’t improve. On the fourth day, his nose bled. By the fifth day, when we were all expecting the fever to break, I stopped the tawa-tawa and let his body take over. But the fever didn’t break, and his CBC showed that things were not improving. He was moved to ICU. By the eve of the seventh day, his fever finally ended. But by then, it had affected his heart.

The official diagnosis: Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Grade 2, with myocarditis. Thankfully, there would be no lifelong after-effects of the disease. His heart will fully recover.

What is my personal, unscientifically-backed conclusion from this experience? I believe the tawa-tawa was working wonders in preventing platelet destruction. But like I said, that should not have been the point. These days, doctors don’t consider blood transfusions for dengue anymore, even if the platelet count plummets to 10,000, provided there is no excessive bleeding. I think that even though the tawa-tawa tea was somehow assisting with fluid replacement, it was also masking the greater damage being wrought. For all I know, it might have actually been stimulating increased urination, as Dr. Tayag had suspected back in 2010. My son may have been more dehydrated than was suspected and the “good results” being generated by the tawa-tawa might have made the doctors less aggressive in managing his dehydration in the first few days.

Other Uses and Medicinal Benefits of Tawa-tawa/Gatas-gatas Plant

(Marvin Food Recap)

The potency of tawa-tawa as dengue cure is proven not only by studies but by a series of people testimonies. It can cure dengue fever even at its late stage, stage four.

Tawa-tawa is also known as gatas-gatas and with a scientific name of Euphorbia hirta. Its uses never stop at treating dengue fever cause it can be used to relieve variety of illness.

1) Antibacterial / Antimicrobial. It is antibacterial and noncytotoxic (not toxic to cells). Plant ethanol extracts are found to inhibit bacterial growth. Also effective against amoeba and fungal infection. Prepare 25 grams plant per two cups water. Boil for three minutes. Take three to five cups a day.

2) Antiasthmatic. The herb is good for asthmatic persons. It breaks up mucus and relaxes spasm. It is combined with bronchial sedatives in inhaler preparation. Steep one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water for ten minutes. Take three to four glasses a day. May also be form into cigarette – burn and inhale smoke.

3) Antidiuretic. Drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages promotes excretion of body fluids, diuretic effect. Rapid loss of body fluids is also experienced by person suffering from diarrhea or loose bowel movement. Too much dehydration can be fatal.

Gatas-gatas is different. It has antidiuretic effect. It contain active extracts of phytochemical tannins and flavonoids that promote water adsorption and electrolyte re-absorption. Indication is similar to antibacterial.

4) Anthelmintic effect. Tawa-tawa is an effective worms and its eggs killer, dewormer. Application is same as antibacterial.

5) Antihypertensive. It counteract high blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme and increasing urine output and electrolytes. Steep one to three teaspoons of leaves in one cup water for five minutes. Drink two glasses as tonic.

6) Sedative. Help in threating anxiety. Mode of application is the same as antibacterial.

7) Antidysentery. Dysentery – an infection of the intestines marked by severe diarrhea. Taking in small quantities calm the digestive system but large doses has purgative effect. Steep one teaspoon leaves in one cup water for ten minutes. Take four glasses a day.

8) Antispasmodic. It contains shikinic acid and choline that are responsible for stopping early and late stage allergy. Application is similar to antibacterial.

9) Treatment of skin diseases. Good for treatment of sores, boils, warts, fungi and open wounds. Threating open wounds will turn skin to bluish black. Apply fresh latex to sores, boils, warts, fungi and open wounds. Sprinkle dried or fresh powdered leaves as wound dressings.

10) Galactagogue. A breast milk stimulant. Massage fresh latex to breast to increase milk flow. Root decoction maybe taken – preparation is same as antibacterial.

Tawa-tawa is indeed effective but should be taken with caution. Large doses may cause gastrointestinal reaction, nausea and vomiting. Prolonged intake may interfere with iron adsorption. Not recommended for pregnant women.

Dengue Fever Cure using Tawa Tawa aka Gatas Gatas weed

(Cure Library)

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a much feared disease caused by a virus carried via mosquito bites. Dengue causes hemorrhaging of the internal organs to a point that it causes death. Western medicine, the common hospital does not have a cure for Dengue. They merely say that their treatment is supportive and all you need to do is pray that the dengue victim is strong enough.

But here in the Philippines, many people know and have attested to the fact that they and many others have been cured of dengue via a simple weed. This weed is called Gatas Gatas in the province of Leyte. But in Butuan City they call the same weed Tawa Tawa.

A case of a nephew Jeremy at 7 years old came down with dengue fever. Immediately, relatives in Cagayan de Oro City who knew about the dengue cure Tawa Tawa sent via airplane a few handfuls of the weed. In 24 hours, my nephew was cured.

My aunt Portia is the known herbalist in the government office NHA in Quezon City. There are lots of Tawa Tawa weeds growing around the NHA compound. Many NHA employees who have had trouble with dengue fever in their family have gone to Auntie Portia for help with the dengue cure. She picks a bunch of the Tawa Tawa weeds and gives it to the grateful employee that promptly cures every dengue case.

We planted a couple of Tawa Tawa weeds in our own garden. Just in case.

My auntie Portia’s recipe for curing Dengue Fever using Tawa Tawa weeds is as follows:

• Take 5 to 6 full whole Tawa Tawa plants.
• Cut off the roots
• Wash and clean
• Fill your boiling pot with clean water.
• Boil the Tawa Tawa for 1 (one) minute in a slow rolling boil.
• Pour the tawa tawa water and let cool.
• Let the dengue fever victim drink only the tawa tawa water for 24 hours.
• Sip 1 to 1.5 glasses of tawa tawa water every 1 hour

The internal hemorrhaging will stop and the dengue fever will be cured after 24 hours.

That’s it. Simple cure. Give it early enough. Tawa Tawa does not interfere with your western medical treatments. You can slip it in through to the patient in a water bottle. You do not need to ask permission from your doctor.

Alternative Treatments for Dengue Fever

By Ms. Chai Pei Yin (DPO International)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there may be 50-100 million dengue infections globally every year, with 2.5 billion people, at risk of this mosquito-borne infectious disease.

The potentially lethal and escalating dengue fever is problem with no definitive treatment available for now. Yet, many dengue victims swear by using back-to-nature traditional medicines for drastic cures. With no definitive treatment from modern medicine available, the best treatment for this infectious disease might lie in nature.

Tawa- tawa (Euphorbia hirta)

Tawa-tawa is a common medical plant grown in India, Australia and Philippines. It contains the phytochemicals components such as polyphenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, tannins and triterpenoids in the whole plant.

Animal studies showed that the active ingredients are suspected to be responsible in the increasing platelet count. Therefore, the potential use of tawa-tawa as a decoction is attributable to its effect on platelet distribution and possibly to the platelet protective activity of its antioxidant polyphenolic constituents

Pegaga Juice

Another one traditional cure for dengue fever is raw pegaga leaf juice. Pegaga or ulam pegaga (Centella asiatica) grows wild in many parts of Asia.

Researchers at the Asian Institute of Science and Technology in Malaysia found that pegaga (Centella asiatica) juice can increase the platelet count of people diagnosed with dengue fever. It contains active ingredients such as triterpeniods, glycosides, alkaloids and amino acids which are potent scavengers of free radicals.

Papaya Leaf Juice

Papaya leaves contain various nutrients and pytoconstituents like saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides and alkaloids. These constituents can act on the bone marrow, prevent its destruction and enhance its ability to produce platelets.

The potent antioxidant activity of papaya leaves is attributed to the array of phenolic compounds such as papain, chymopapain, cystatin, tocopherol, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, cyanogenic-glucosides and glucosinolates. Extensive studies have been demonstrated that aqueous leaf extracts of papaya leaves exhibited potential activity against dengue fever by increasing the platelets count, white blood cells and neutrophils.

'Tawa-tawa' leaves: For this miracle herb, dengue is just a cup of tea


EFFECTIVE not only against venom, but also against dengue.

Such is the new use of tea extracted from tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta), a plant traditionally used to cure boils, wounds, bronchitis, sores, asthma, and hypertension, said Rafael Guerrero III, an academician from the National Academy of Science and Technology.

“Tawa-tawa has been a traditional herbal medicine for centuries in countries not only in Asia, but also in the Caribbean, South America and Africa,” Guerrero told the Varsitarian by email.

He added that studies have shown that tawa-tawa, found in the Davao and Leyte areas, is effective in increasing the blood’s platelet count, which would help the body fight dengue fever.

Pharmacy graduates Jeriz Natividad, Hazel Lopez, Toni Ann Marie Luna, Rachelle Manalo, and Clarisse Ngo conducted a study in 2009 about the efficacy of tawa-tawa in curing dengue.

“In our research about the tawa-tawa plant, we found out that there was an increase in the platelet count,” said Natividad in an online interview.

Their research—titled “A study on the Mechanism of Platelet Increasing Activity of the Decoction and Ethanolic Extraction of Euphorbia hirta L. (Euphorbiaceae) as treatment for dengue”—found out that platelet production in the bone marrow is stimulated by the plant’s enzymes, which raises platelet count in the blood.

This elliptical-shaped plant has chemical compounds called phytochemicals that yield alkaloids (compounds mainly composed of nitrogen atoms), oils, and fatty acids proven to be helpful in curing dengue by rehydrating the patient.

“Drinking the tawa-tawa tea helps in hydrating dengue patients, and has an anti-viral effect as shown in vitro tests of researchers of the Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology,” said Guerrero.

He added that tawa-tawa tea “has no side -effects” and have anti-pyretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The anti-pyretic property of Euphorbia hirta causes the hypothalamus to override the body’s metabolism and lower the temperature. The process fortifies the immune system to overcome the fever.

The analgesic property of tawa-tawa, on the other hand, eliminates the pain brought by the dengue virus by acting as an anesthetic, with morphine-like effects, to numb the body while eliminating the pain-inducing toxins from the body.

Other than the anti-pyretic and analgesic capabilities of the said plant, it also has natural enzymes that stabilize the membranes of blood vessels, thus preventing internal bleeding.

“[However,] until well-controlled clinical studies are conducted, tawa-tawa as a dengue cure cannot be officially recommended by medical doctors,” said Guerrero.

In UST, 18 cases of dengue had been reported to the Health Service as of September 21, 22 cases in August, 14 in July, and 11 in the first month of classes.

They admitted a total of 54 dengue patients since the start of the academic year, and the latest figures show a doubled number of dengue victims during the rainy months.

Nigerian researchers uncover herbal remedies for asthma

By Chief Morgan Okwoche

People living with asthma no longer need to despair. In fact they may no longer need to worry about taking their inhalers wherever they went. A local preparation might have provided a solution. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.

IT can be discomforting and an identified cause of sudden deaths in Nigeria. Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.

But results of studies carried out by Nigerian researchers suggest that the largely genetic disease could be treated and managed with a concoction made of pineapple fruit, unripe pawpaw, palm nut, bitter kola, ginger, garlic and onions mixed in pap water and honey.

A recent study published in European Journal of Scientific Research by Nigerian researchers has uncovered six recipes or rather possible novel drugs for treating asthma: Ananas comosus (pineapple) fruit, unripe Carica papaya (pawpaw) fruit and palm nut in pap water, Garcinia cola (bitter kola), Zingiber officinale (ginger) and Allium sativum (garlic) in honey, Carica papaya seed, a decoction of Garcinia cola root bark with a pinch of salt in water, Corchorus olitorus (jute in English, ewedu in Yoruba) and honey and decoction of Crudia klainei leaves or bark in water.

The study is titled “Ethnobotanical survey of plants used in treatment of inflammatory diseases in Ogun State of Nigeria.”

The researchers include Omonike O. Ogbole and Adebayo A. Gbolade of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University Sagamu campus, Ogun State and Edith O. Ajaiyeoba of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State.

An ethnobotanical survey was conducted into plants and plant recipes used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases in five local councils in Ogun State of Nigeria namely, Sagamu, Ikenne, Ago-Iwoye, Oru and Ijebu-Igbo through the use of semi-structured questionnaire. Respondents included traditional medical practitioners, herbalists and herb sellers.

Also, the popular asthma herb, Euphorbia hirta, has been shown to not only to be effective in treating asthma but to possess antiviral activity against Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Euphorbia hirta belongs to the plant family Euphorbiaceae. It is called In Nigeria, asin uloko in Edo, endamyel in Fula-Fulfulde, ba ala in Igbo (Owerri), akun esan in Yoruba.

Euphorbia hirta is also locally known as ogwu ngwo (eczema drug) in some eastern parts of Nigeria is used locally to arrest bleeding in the event of an injury. Leaves of Euphorbia hirta are used in traditional medicine for the treatments of boils, wounds and control of diarrhoea and dysentery.

The use of pineapple, pawpaw, Bitter kola, onion, garlic and ginger to treat asthma has also been confirmed by another study published in Pakistan Journal of Nutrition.

The study is titled “Medicinal Herbs Used for Managing Some Common Ailments among Esan People of Edo State, Nigeria.”

The researchers at the departments of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Medical Biochemistry and Botany, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State wrote: “… Abrus precatorius leaf extract is chewed for asthma… Allium cepa (onions) bulb is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally. Allium sativum (garlic) bulb is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally… Ananas comosus (pineapple) fruit for asthma. Ripe fruit is eaten. Carica papaya (pawpaw) dry leaf for asthma. The smoke of burnt leaf is inhaled.

“Euphorbia hirta leaf is taken for wound. It is applied on the surface of the wound. Fresh leaf is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally. Garcinia kola (Bitter kola) root bark is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally after food.”

Abrus precatorious belongs to the family Leguminosae-papilionoideae. In Nigeria, it is omisinmisin in Yoruba and empo in Esan. It is commonly called jequirity (from a Brazilian name), crab’s eyes (the seeds), bird’s eye (the seeds), prayer beads (the seeds), lucky bean (the seeds), Indian liquorice, or wild liquorice (the root).

The Euphorbia hirta HIV study titled “Antiviral activities of extracts of Euphorbia hirta L. against HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIVmac251” was published in In Vivo by researchers at Johan Béla National Center for Epidemiology, Microbiological Research Group, Budapest, Hungary.

The antiretroviral activities of extracts of Euphorbia hirta were investigated in vitro on the MT4 human T lymphocyte cell line. The researchers wrote: “The HIV-1 inhibitory potency of E. hirta was studied further and the activities of the aqueous and 50 per cent methanolic extracts were compared. The 50 per cent methanolic extract was found to exert a higher antiretroviral effect than that of the aqueous extract.

“The 50 per cent methanolic extract was subjected to liquid-liquid partition with dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and water. Only the remaining aqueous phase exhibited significant antiviral activity; all the lipophilic extracts appeared to be inactive. After removal of the tannins from the aqueous extract, the viral replication inhibitory effect was markedly decreased, and it was therefore concluded that tannins are most probably responsible for the high antiretroviral activity.”

Another study published in Journal of American Science has confirmed the antibacterial activities of Euphorbia hirta. Leaves of Euphorbia hirta used in traditional medicine for the treatment of boils, wounds and control of diarrhoea and dysentery was extracted by maceration in ethanol. The agar diffusion method was used to determine the antibacterial activity on Staphylococcus aureus, E coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Bacillus subtilis at different concentrations while it was tested for toxicity on albino rats by injecting varying concentrations of the extracts through the intraperitoneal route.

The results indicated that the extract inhibited the growth of Staph aureus, E. coli and P. aeruginosa to varying degrees. The extract did not inhibit the growth of S. typhi. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract for E. coli, Staph aureus, P. aeruginosa and B. subtilis were 58.09mg/ml, 22.55 mg/ml, 57.64 mg/ml and 74.61 mg/ml in that order…Thus the plant extract is haematologically not toxic to rats. The observed antibacterial activities were believed to be due to the presence of tannins, alkaloids and flavonoids which were identified in the extract.

“The results are of significance in the health care delivery system and apparently justifies the use of the plant in the treatment of sores, boils, wounds and control of dysentery and diarrhoea,” the researchers concluded.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Euphorbia Hirta

(Health Brings Joy)

Euphorbia hirta is a bizarre, bristly herbaceous plant that is regularly found in tropical parts of the world, thought to be local to India. It is essentially utilized as a restorative herb because of its interesting synthetic structure and intense impacts on the body. It has been utilized generally for a large number of years. The leaves, blossoms, and sap from this herbaceous plant, which is likewise ordinarily called an “asthma weed”, are all utilized as a part of various courses and in various structures, contingent upon the current infirmity. The absolute most vital medical advantages of Euphorbia hirta incorporate its capacity to advance mending, alleviate the skin, secure female generation, cure gastrointestinal disarranges, enhance breath, support the resistant framework, expand fruitfulness, and lessening irritation. There are some of the health benefits of Euphorbia Hirta listed below, let’s have a look.

5 Health Benefits of Euphorbia Hirta:

Euphorbia Hirta Good for Skin Health: The ointments produced using Euphorbia hirta can be connected specifically to the skin on bubbles, wounds, rashes, blazes, and different imprints. This arrangement can speed the stimulating so as to recuperate process blood stream to the skin, empower the re-growth of new cells, and even contribute its cancer prevention agent ability to advancing healthier looking skin. It can take out indications of maturing and lessen the presence of wrinkles and sun harm.

Euphorbia Hirta Help to Prevent Gastrointestinal Issues: Besides dispensing with parasites and intestinal worms, Euphorbia hirta can likewise relieve the gastrointestinal framework and dispose of manifestations of looseness of the bowels or diarrhea. By mitigating the gut walls, Euphorbia hirta can restore your bowel discharges to a more typical level.

Sexual Activity: Euphorbia hirta has for quite some time been utilized as a sexual stimulant, both to build moxie and help ripeness. For guys who need to help their sex drive and enhance their odds of beginning a family, Euphorbia hirta can be an awesome arrangement. It can even avert premature ejaculation! For ladies, Euphorbia hirta can fortify the creation of breast milk. In any case, it ought not be given to pregnant ladies, as it can bring about unnatural birth cycles.

Euphorbia Hirta good for Respiratory System: The calming way of the herb makes it perfect for mitigating bronchial aggravation, asthma, sore throats, and chronic coughing, and additionally conditions like bronchitis.

Anti-inflammatory: One of the other mainstream names for Euphorbia Hirta herbs is snakeroot, as it can rapidly kill poisons and decrease inflammation at the site of a snakebite.

Tawa-tawa contains active ingredients that may help dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patients – study


Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta), also known as “gatas-gatas,” is a hairy herb grown in open grasslands, roadsides and pathways. This indigenous plant is considered as one of the most popular folkloric treatment for dengue in the Philippines.

Intent on finding out the truth behind tawa-tawa’s curative properties, students of the University of Sto Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models. The study aimedtoverify the effects of tawa-tawa decoction to a dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patient showing a symptom of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count due to excessive bleeding).

In the study, the students used chloramphenicol, ethanol and heparin to induce thrombocytopenia on rat models, mimicking dengue hemorrhagic fever. They administered tawa-tawa decoction to the sample groups and collected blood samples to check for platelet count, bleeding time (duration of bleeding), and blood clotting times in several stages of the experiment.

Results showed that platelet count increased by 47% depending on the drug used to induce thrombocytopenia. Bleeding time was reduced up to 62% while blood clotting time decreased to 58% compared to the control groups.

Based on the results, students concluded that administering tawa-tawa decoction to animal models help improve their healing mechanism. Tawa-tawa was able to promote cell production, and prevents platelet destruction. Likewise, the improvement in the cell bleeding time and clotting time provided evidence that the indigenous plant can preserve and promote the hemostatic function of platelets.

The students also discovered phenolic compounds in tawa-tawa, active ingredients suspected to be responsible in the increased platelet counts of tested animals. In an interview, Mr. Ryan Justin Raynes, one of the student researchers saidthat through a phenolic determination assay, they were able to identify ‘minute’ phenolic compound in tawa-tawa samples. “Although there were small amount of phenolic compound in tawa-tawa, this was sufficient to exert effect promoting quality and quantity of platelets,” Mr. Raynes said.

Because of the study’s significant findings, it won the first prize in the PCHRD – Gruppo Medica Award held during the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week held at Sofitel Manila last 10 August 2012. PCHRD – Gruppo Medica Award is given to undergraduate students engaged in herbal medicine research that have potential for practical or commercial applications.

Local Tawa-tawa herbs may cure tuberculosis, dengue

(TJD, GMA News)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through its Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), is currently doing studies on the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of the tawa-tawa plant (Euphorbia hirta) and its supposed ability to increase blood platelets. The discovery of tawa-tawa’s active ingredient could lead to the development of treatments for tuberculosis and dengue.

Researching the medicinal properties of tawa-tawa and other native herbs is currently a top priority of the agency. Its drug development program looks into natural substances from plants and animals as possible sources of cure for diseases. “Natural products research in the country is being refocused and modernized by DOST as competition in the increasingly global industry becomes more intense,” says DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.

More than a quarter of the new chemical entities discovered from 1981 from 2002 come from natural products—a significant percentage, says PCHRD executive director Dr. Jaime Montoya, that suggests that natural products are important sources of new drugs or lead compounds suitable for further modifications during drug development.

A new chemical entity, or NCE for short, is a molecule developed at the early stage of the drug discovery process. It goes through clinical trials before it is developed into a drug to cure certain diseases.

Drug development is one of the DOST-PCHRD priority programs for 2012. To coordinate drug research across the Philippines and to build the health research capacity in every region, the Council launched Tuklas Lunas Centers nationwide. The first Tuklas Lunas Center to be launched was the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) campus. It will be followed by two more research institutes in Luzon and the Visayas.

This year, the PCHRD will also embark on the development of diagnostic kits for priority diseases, genomics and molecular technology; functional foods; hospital equipment and biomedical devices; information and communication technology (ICT) in health; and chronobiology, or the study of the effects of night and day to living organisms—in particular, the effect of shifting work schedules for workers in the Business Process Outsource industries.

The PCHRD is mandated to formulate policies, programs, projects, and strategies for health science and technology development. It also generates and allocates government and external funds for research and development, and monitors research and development projects.

How to Make Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) Tea as Cure for Dengue

(Business Diary)

Tawa-tawa tea is said to be an effective cure for dengue. To find the truth behind tawa-tawa’s curative properties, students of the University of Sto Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models.”

Results showed that laboratory mice treated with the decoction of “tawa-tawa” had an increase in platelet count, reduced bleeding time and decreased blood clotting time. Based on the results, researchers concluded that administering tawa-tawa decoction to animal models help improve their healing mechanism.

Euphorbia hirta or popularly known in the Philippines as “Tawa-tawa” or “gatas-gatas,” is a hairy herb that just resides in the backyard, roadsides and pathways. This common weed – tawa-tawa – is claimed to have healing properties on dengue patients as being backed up by personal testimonies, it became one of the most popular “folkloric medicine” for dengue in the Philippines.

As a folkloric treatment in the Philippines for dengue, tawa-tawa has earned many anecdotal testimonies from those who purportedly became well from the plant’s concoction: its leaves boiled like a tea and taken orally.

Tawa-tawa Tea

In preparing tawa-tawa tea, 100 grams of the fresh whole plant (including roots) are washed and boiled in half a liter (500 ml) of water for 15 minutes. After cooling and paper-filtration, the decoction is taken by the patient at one glass every hour until the fever subsides.

Tawa-tawa pill maker dead serious about dengue

By Jocelyn R. Uy (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

This is no laughing matter.

A dead-serious, small-time herbal supplement manufacturer has started exploring ways to make the plant called “tawa-tawa” (Euphorbia hirta) an acceptable cure for dengue in the absence of science to back claims of its many healing properties.

Shirley Su-Alampay, who came up with the idea of encapsulating powdered tawa-tawa six years ago, told the Inquirer that her group has been collecting and collating testimonials and blood test results of dengue patients who took the capsules to build a case study that will prove the plant’s curative powers.

“We have to gather these records from various patients so we can proceed with Phase 2 of the clinical study on the efficacy of tawa-tawa plant on dengue fever cases,” said Alampay, sales head of Opti-Life Innovations.

The start-up company has recently obtained a certificate of product registration from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allows the group to put the encapsulated tawa-tawa extracts on the shelf.

The coveted FDA certification classified the product, named “Tawa2 Plus,” as an over-the-counter drug under the pharmacologic category of traditionally used herbal product, but merely for the relief of asthma symptoms.

Tawa-tawa, alternatively known as “gatas-gatas,” has been traditionally used in Asia and Australia to treat asthma, coughs, diarrhea and dysentery and in Nigeria for eye and ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhea, according to a 2012 publication of the National Drug Information Center.

DOH stand

The Department of Health (DOH) has repeatedly indicated the absence of validated scientific study that would back claims of its effectivity in curing dengue cases.

In 2011, the DOH reported that an initial research by the Department of Science and Technology showed that the local plant appeared to have “some effects” on rehydration and the agency was trying to “isolate” the active substance responsible for this.

But it was quick to add that the results were “very preliminary” and it could not make any official recommendation about the plant’s possible dengue-fighting properties.

On Friday, Health Secretary Janette Garin reiterated the DOH’s stand that “there is no validated scientific study or results” on the efficacy of tawa-tawa—leaves or capsules—as treatment of dengue.

“If the claims are true, there is no substantiation. And they need to register it with FDA as treatment,” she told the Inquirer in a text message.

She said the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care has yet to make a position on such health intervention.

“There may be potential but there is no scientific evidence yet and the DOH cannot endorse such claims,” Garin said.

Second phase

Alampay said the members of her group are aware of the DOH’s stand on tawa-tawa, which is why they are pushing to proceed with the second phase of the product’s clinical trial.

“We started it already with Bulacan … we were able to talk to some (private) doctors who tried it on their patients and it worked,” she said. “We also asked them to get testimonials and the platelet count records of these patients.”

The DOH has reported a surge in the number of dengue cases in the past nine months in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Metro Manila.

The provincial governments of Cavite and Bulacan have recently declared a state of calamity due to the increasing number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

“Because of the rising number of dengue cases, the advise to us is to get as many records because these can be case studies that can be used in the clinical trial,” Alampay said.

The herbal product underwent a clinical trial for safety and toxicity in 2012. Documents provided to the Inquirer showed that this was conducted by the Research and Biotechnology Division of the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for clinical research services group, Rainiers Contract Research Services Inc.

How it began

The interest in the local plant began in 2009 following Tropical Storm “Ondoy” that inundated large swaths of Metro Manila. One of Alampay’s brothers, who lives in Marikina, one of the many areas surrounded by stagnant water, contracted dengue.

A brother in the United States referred her to a Davao-based relative of a Filipino office mate who had access to the tawa-tawa leaves. It eventually became the subject of a thesis of students of Ateneo de Davao University.

Alampay had the tawa-tawa leaves regularly shipped to Manila, and made fresh tea from the herbal plant for her sick brother to drink every hour. Overnight, her brother’s condition improved and his platelet count increased.

Two nieces also contracted the dengue virus and the tawa-tawa concoction helped them overcome the mosquito-borne disease.

Convinced of its healing properties, Alampay said she thought of making tawa-tawa available in capsules to make it more accessible and tolerable for dengue patients.

“Tawa-tawa tea tastes bad, it’s like drinking soil. So we thought, rather than discourage people from taking tawa-tawa, we might as well come up with an alternative that is more convenient,” she said.

Don't laugh, tawa-tawa is a cure for dengue


Take it from me. If any of your loved ones gets afflicted with dengue, ask a friend in Davao to send you a bunch of tawa-tawa ASAP. And while waiting for it, have the dengue victim take a decoction of camote tops and a papaya-leaf paste.

I've been kicking myself in the head for not having written this up nearly a year ago, or soon after my 21-year-old son was stricken with dengue. We successfully licked the medical problem by relying on herbal stuff other than hospital facilities.

Now that the dengue outbreak remains unabated, it's time for everyone to know about these effective traditional cures — and for medical authorities to acknowledge the same, however grudgingly.

Just the other day I caught a DOH official on TV news dismissing the use of tawa-tawa, and recommending instead the 181 solution of oral rehydration salts. Hearing him perorate on the subject just strengthens the suspicion that most doctors, and hospitals, will always insist on sanctioned pharmaceuticals instead of acknowledging the many tried and true benefits we can get from our local flora.

About a year ago, when my son started running a fever, having general body aches, and worst, losing his usual gargantuan appetite, I worried enough to take him to Medical City on Ortigas Avenue. Tests were conducted, and the diagnosis handed down hours later. His platelet count had gone down severely; it must be dengue.

The attending physician, an articulate and pleasant young man, suggested that I begin trying to reserve a room. But I found out that we could only join a waiting list, and that it might take at most another day before we could be assigned one.

Known as snakeweed by Native American tribes, tawa-tawa has been used for a wide assortment of ailments. Krip Yuson I went back to the doctor and asked him what we could do in the meantime. What medication should the boy take, other than Biogesic to keep his fever down? He suggested a lot of juice and water. He had to avoid dehydration.

I then asked, if we managed to get a room the next day, exactly what treatment would my son get? He may be put on suero if his platelet count dropped further. And what would that suero do? Basically, it was for rehydration. Bed rest and lots of liquids were the essential needs.

But he can have those at home, I said. The doctor agreed. It seemed that one simply had to run out the course for dengue. There was no outright cure. The only advantage of hospitalization would be the daily tests on blood and platelet counts.

Since my age and inherent philosophical drive to nitpick any problem privileged me with kakulitan, I then proposed: What if I just kept him at home, where he can rest all day in an airy bedroom (and still indulge in his usual computer games when he's up), and I also make sure he gets juiced up, besides taking antipyretics and receiving that old folks' treatment (done to me as a kid) of getting wiped with a vinegar-soaked towel? Then take him back for tests every morning for as long as necessary?

The equally charming doc smiled and said yes, it was up to us, but more than that, my alternative to getting a room was entirely workable. Fine, I said, thanks, doc, see you again tomorrow. We drove home, only five minutes away, and I immediately buckled down to help my son do battle with dengue.

Off to SM Hypermarket I went, to stock up on jugs and cartons of apple juice, cranberry, grape, orange, guava, the works, local and imported. Then it was Watson's for Biogesic and analgesics. Back home, whenever his fever rose high enough to debilitate him away from his PC and send him back to bed, I gave him the suka fever-sopping treatment.

Then I did the next best thing, which was to go on the Internet and also text friends about the matter. The S.O.S. call produced instant results.

Believe me, a friend from Davao City texted back, here everyone just takes tawa-tawa for dengue. What's that, a hallucinogenic herb? It's not for me, but for my son, I added. The lady explained that it was a common shrub that grows in patches of idle land. I'll LBC you some, just wash up the bunch, and boil everything, including the roots, and give him a cup 3-4 times a day. Oh, Okay. Great, thanks.

Now, I've always trusted in old folks' remedies. Tell me that a man's gotta believe in something, and I'll nod and point out the herbal wisdom of the ages. I guess I'm genetically predisposed to that sort of abiding faith, having had an herbolario, or so I was told, as a paternal grandfather.

I've also been quite a researcher on flora, their beauty and benefits. When I found out that eucalyptus leaves were good for pulmonary problems, I made sure to grow my own eucalyptus tree (a blue gum smuggled home from Oz-land). And when we had to leave it behind, I quickly recognized similar species standing tall inside our new village. Every time the kids suffered from bad colds and coughs, I'd have 'em soak in a hot tub with sprigs of gum leaves. They enjoyed the soothing whiff and fragrance, and were back to being insufferable balls of energy in no time.

So tawa-tawa was acceptable to usually non-gullible me. But I researched on it, and found out that in the American Southwest, it's called snakeweed. Here's what Googling came up with, by way of info from the USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, which also supplied snakeweed's official nomenclature, Gutierrezia sarothrae:

"Broom snakeweed was used by numerous Native American tribes for a variety of reasons. The Blackfoot use the roots of broom snakeweed in an herbal steam as a treatment for respiratory ailments. The Dakota use a concentrate made from the flowers as a laxative for horses. The Lakota took a decoction of the plant to treat colds, coughs, and dizziness. The Navajo and Ramah Navaho rubbed the ashes of broom snakeweed on their bodies to treat headaches and dizziness. They also chewed the plant and applied it to wounds, snakebites, and areas swollen by insect bites and stings. The Comanche used the stems of broom snakeweed to make brooms for sweeping their residences."

Hmm. Davao's snakeweed might take a day or two to make it to our place. So I did more Net-surfing on dengue. A Pinoy based in Indonesia swore by papaya leaves. He recounted how a friend's daughter whose platelet count had gone dangerously low recovered quickly after being given "papaya juice."

Actually, it's not juice, but a paste, judging from the informant's detailed narrative: "They got some papaya leaves, pounded them and squeezed the juice out for her. The next day, her platelet count started to increase, her fever subside. We continued to feed her with papaya juice and she recovered after 3 days!!! Amazing but it's true. It's believed one's body would be overheated when one is down with dengue and that also caused the patient to have fever. Papaya juice has cooling effect. Thus, it helps to reduce the heat in one's body, thus the fever will go away. I found that it's also good when one is having sore throat. Those of us staying in Subang Jaya are lucky as we can get papaya juice easily from the Penang Cendol stall in Giant! One cup is only RM1."

Another friend SMS'd that camote tops would be the surefire antidote. And another Web entry seemed to verify that. A Bernardo Rocha told the story 

of how "Computer technician Wenceslao Salesale Jr., 27, was 
downed by dengue. His platelet count plunged from 180
 to 80. He was rushed by ambulance from Novaliches to
 Manila. Inside the ambulance, a relative, acting upon 
the advice of a missionary priest, made him drink soup
 made from camote tops. The following day, his platelet
 count was normal. 

Dengue attacked the seven-year-old daughter of engineers
 Mar and Lita Budlongan of Kaloocan City. Her platelet
 count read 80. The same treatment was used. The 
following day she was back to normal...." Etc.

Mr. Rocha also provides the following info that he picked up from Wikipedia: "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet 
potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber
 content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A
 and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato ranked 
highest in nutritional value. According to these
 criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points 
over the next on the list, the common potato (NCSPC).

"... Sweet potato tops are excellent sources of 
anti-oxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which 
may protect the human body from oxidative stress that
 is associated with many diseases including cancer and 
cardiovascular diseases. Sweet potato greens have the
 highest content of total polyphenolics among other
 commercial vegetables studied."

His instructions I quickly followed upon getting bunches of talbos ng kamote from the supermarket:

"Camote tops are boiled in water to extract the juice.
 The boiling lasts for about five minutes. A little
 salt is used to give flavor to it. The patient is made 
to drink slowly and gradually. The body's immunity 
system is thus revived, making dengue helpless against
 the body's natural defenses. Camote enables the body
 to heal itself. 

... (P)eople are needlessly dying
 all around us from dengue, while their very cure is
 also all around us. 

In the past, many were fond of using the derogatory 
statement, 'Go home and plant camote.' Now, camote is 
big news. It can save lives!"

Indeed, I made my son drink camote tops tea every three hours, and the very next day his decreasing platelet count was arrested at 100. On the third day it went up to 105. I also gathered papaya leaves from the neighborhood, and pounded them into tablespoons of paste. But he refused a third tablespoon even after I had mixed in some honey; he just couldn't take the bitterness.

Finally the cavalry arrived from Davao. I did as I was told with the tawa-tawa. My son willingly took the tea. The next day his platelet count was up to 120. And on the fifth day that I took him to Medical City, the doctor smiled when he gave us the final results. My son was back to normal.

It took only two days of camote tops decoction, two tabelespoons of papaya-leaf paste, and another two days of more talbos ng kamote and tawa-tawa tea to win the battle against dengue.

Eventually I would find that tawa-tawa has already been commercialized. Bottles of tawa-tawa capsules are now sold at a Tiendesitas stall. I can't say that they're as effective as a fresh bunch of leaves, twigs and roots that have been boiled, as had proved effective for my son. And as it did for a writer-friend who had been hospitalized for nearly a week until I told her about tawa-tawa. Like me, she asked for a friend in Mindanao to send her a bunch. And she came out of that hospital in three days.

There should be no harm in trying tawa-tawa capsules. We should all recall how lagundi, among all our other herbal concoctions, has now been accepted as a pharmaceutical, although it certainly took some time. Like the truth, the herbal cures are out there, just in our own backyards.

Mr. Rocha of the "Go-home-and-plant camote!" injunction should have the final say here, as he had blogged on the Net:

"I asked a doctor of medicine about herbal cures and he
 said that many, if not most, medicines come from 
plants. He also said that under the Hippocratic Oath,
 doctors are bound to encourage anything that can cure a 

Photos of Tawa Tawa or Euphorbia Hirta