A friend of mine recently came down with malaria, so I decided to look up the various treatments that are currently available. He said that he was given a new medicine, but it left him feeling pretty sick for many days.

According to information posted at malariasite.com, the most effective and fastest-acting drug (not to mention safest) is Qinghaosu, which is actually a natural┬áherb from China. Curiously, the site lists it as a last resort, to be taken in very serious cases only if the other drugs don’t work, even though it has rated it the highest. Pressure from certain drug companies, perhaps?

It seems that the conventional treatments for malaria may have serious and irreversible side-effects, possibly including death. In my mind, death is entirely unacceptable as a possible ‘side-effect’, especially as I’ve come all to close to experiencing this ‘side-effect’ more than once. On one occasion, I was prescribed Flagil because the doctor (one of the top parasitologists in the US) thought I ‘might possibly’ have amoebas. The drug came close to killing me, and when I looked it up later, I saw that death was indeed listed as a potential side effect along with numerous other miseries. And he prescribed this for something he wasn’t even sure I had, no less!

Pardon me if I rant on for a minute about this. For death to be listed as a side effect of a medicine, usually a number of people have to have died from it, as unless there is no way to ascribe the death to something else, there tends to be reluctance to blame the medication. Once it is conclusively shown that people have died from side-effects of the drug and not something else, then it gets listed. It usually takes quite a lot of deaths or extremely serious side-effects before a drug is withdrawn.

In any case, if there’s something that’s not so risky, I’ll go for that every time, especially if it’s natural. In some areas, particularly emergency medicine and surgery, Western medicine is the best, but an incredible percentage of allopathic drugs are really nasty. Don’t believe me? Try to get your hands on a copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference, which is supposed to include all known side-effects in its listings. That’s enough to give anyone nightmares.

On a more encouraging note, I just read a report that some scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology have found a class of chemicals in seaweed that they believe may be useful in combatting malaria. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

If you have to take some heavy-duty allopathic medicines, you might consider asking a good Ayurvedic doctor to prescribe something to counteract the toxic effects. That’s what my friend did, and it really helped him recover quickly. Since I am a big fan of Ayurvedic medicine, I’ll write more about it in my next post.

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