March 30, 2009

I’ve done the herbal thing: chewed a bitter guava leaf and washed down the hay-like leaf powder of artemisia with euphorbia hirta tea. If it doesn’t kill me it will cure me. I’ve got malaria again, as I do every year. I took Coartem, the best malaria medicine, but still have the dysentery that I always seem to get too. It’s likely two different parasites. One is the malaria parasite. The other could be giardia, which is rampant here.

Euphorbia hirta, the wonder weed. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Euphorbia hirta, the wonder weed. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

I e-mailed Dr. Hans Martin Hirt, the German pharmacologist who wrote Natural Medicine in the Tropics. He said I should use euphorbia hirta tea with guava leaves, and take four teaspoons of artemisia leaf powder a day.

From him I learned about using artemisia leaf powder as a malaria preventive. It would be probably be much worse if I hadn’t used it. Besides, there are no side effects with artemisia, as there are with chemical counterparts.

I also learned about using euphorbia hirta to cure intestinal parasites such as giardia. Every year it seems Robert and I are in the country about two weeks when we start getting stomach cramps. This year was no exception.

Euphorbia hirta is a common weed and grows right outside our door. I thought I’d try it. I picked a handful every morning, boiled it for 15 minutes in a half litre of water and we drank it throughout the day. Both of us felt great after two days but we did the full eight day treatment. We were excited. The chemical treatment for giardia is quite harsh.

I started the euphorbia hirta treatment right away, along with the Coartem, but it hasn’t worked so well this time. Dr. Hirt insists that if the weed tea, as I call it, doesn’t work, then the chemical pills for giardia won’t either. It could be a bacterial infection, so I may need to use an antibiotic treatment, Ciproflex, which I have with me. I’ll give it another day.

Our friend Mate, chair of Bukuumo Co-operative, says parasites are his cousins. They live with him. I’m not very fond of his cousins.

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