Yesterday, Robert’s sister Elsbeth brought us six packs of Artemisia tea leaves (40 grams each), for malaria prevention. Malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, is endemic in Zambia. Visitors should take medication for its prevention, especially in the rainy season. The World Health Organization is targeting Zambia for prevention and treatment of malaria.
There are actually fewer mosquitoes in the areas of Africa we have been than there are in Western Canada in a typical summer. That’s good, because there is enough malaria as it is. The average Zambian gets malaria several times a year.
Malaria still kills too many people, especially children, the elderly and the weak. Those that don’t die are weakened and many work days are missed because of it.
Artemisia Annua is an annual plant that fights malaria. The plant originates from China, where it has been used to treat fever, malaria and other diseases, for at least 2,000 years.
I first heard of it when Elsbeth brought me a newsletter from Roland Baumann, several years ago. Dr. Dr Hans-Martin Hirt, a pharmacologist from Germany who has taught many seminars in African countries teaching people how to grow the plant and use it correctly to prevent and treat malaria. The wonderful thing is that Artemisia can be grown by anyone with some care and is such a readily available natural medicine.
The main component of the newest malaria medicines, among them CoArtem, is Artemisinin, extracted from the Artemisia plant. But the malaria parasite is already showing resistance to these new medications.
Hirt says there is little danger of resistance building when using tea from the whole plant. He has done extensive research, and written several books on Tropical healing plants. He insists that it is the combination of all the healing properties in the plant that together give the maximum protection or healing capabilities.
We usually took Doxycylin, an antibiotic, as malaria prevention. Many people take either Malarone, or Larium. The problem with these medicines is that they all have side effects. Last year, we decided to try taking Artemisia tea leaves, one teaspoon a day. Anamed, the association Hirt has founded, says tourists should take the recommended medications, but that some aid workers have had success with the tea leaves.
We had mosquitoes in the house almost every evening, the time of day when malaria-carrying mosquitoes are most active. Robert never got sick, but I had a mild bout of malaria, which I have also had while on Doxycylin. It works for us and we have the added benefit of Artemisia being an immune system booster.
When I left Zambia last year, I had helped several people start Artemisia plants. I look forward to seeing what became of this project, and to continue teaching others to grow and use it. I have seen with my own eyes how it has treated malaria, and how much better people feel when they take it.
For more information on the artemesia plant go to: www.anamed.org