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DENGUE RESEARCH

Something to smile about: ‘tawa-tawa’ plant

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03:44 AM August 27th, 2011

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August 27th, 2011 03:44 AM

Here’s something to smile about: the tawa-tawa plant may have an active ingredient that could prevent dehydration among dengue patients.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a forum Friday said that based on initial research work, the local plant “appears” to have “some effects” on rehydration.

But in the same breath, Ona stressed that this was “very preliminary” and that the Department of Health cannot yet make an official recommendation on the plant for its possible dengue-fighting properties.

The health agency has tapped the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to look into plants, including tawa-tawa, that may help in the treatment of the mosquito-borne disease, which has downed hundreds of children nationwide.

Ona on Friday said researchers at the DOST have began trying to “isolate” the active ingredients in the local plant that have a potential in fighting off dehydration.

The health agency earlier said that dehydration, aside from hemorrhage, is one of the common causes of death among dengue patients.

“Initial results in terms of isolation shows that there is an active component… however, very preliminary,” said Ona.  “So let’s hope. Maybe there really is [and] we should be very happy with that.”

But instead of experimenting with tawa-tawa, which some dengue patients brew and drink like tea, Ona stressed the importance of immediately seeing a doctor.

“Don’t depend on tawa-tawa,” warned the health chief.  “As much as possible, consult your doctor,”  he added.

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