Malaria is an endemic disease in many parts of the world, especially Africa, South and Central America, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
According to statistical reports, about 214 million persons were diagnosed with malaria in 2015, with more than 400,000 of them dying. The U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention reckons that about 90% of all malaria related deaths happen in Africa.
While there are many medical remedies for malaria, the pathogens responsible for the disease are becoming more resistant to the medications. It is even reported that, in some parts of southeastern Asia, there has been a complete resistance to all anti-malarial drugs.
That said, the aim of this article is to proffer natural, but effective remedies for malaria.
Without further ado, let’s dive into to it.
What is malaria?
Malaria is an infection that is caused by a parasitic protozoon, which is transmitted by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. This type of infectious disease is characterized by sudden fever and chills, among other symptoms.
The parasite that causes malaria is called plasmodium. Plasmodium is transmitted by an infected Anopheles mosquito as stated above.
Malaria is a leading cause of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
Causes of malaria
As already mentioned, malaria is caused by Plasmodium, which is a parasite transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito.
There are 4 main species of this parasite – Plasmodium – namely: P. vivax, P. ovale, P. falciparum, and P. malariae. Of these four, P. vivax and P. falciparum are the most common, with P. falciparum being the deadliest of the four. A rare species of Plasmodium, P. knowlesi, is also existent.
The lifecycle of the disease starts when the mosquito bites an infected person and bites another uninfected person. The parasite then travels to the liver of the uninfected person where it begins to grow and multiply. From the liver, the parasite moves into the bloodstream and begins to attack the red blood cells. The symptoms of malaria begin to develop when the malaria enters the blood.
That said, malaria can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. Other methods of malaria transmission include through blood transfusion, and through sharing of infected needles or syringes.
Signs and symptoms of malaria
Depending on the Plasmodium species, after a period of 7 to 21 days of biting, people infected with the malaria parasite may begin to experience any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting (sometimes)
- Muscle aches
When the malaria becomes severe, it can lead to complications such as hypoglycemia, kidney failure, severe anemia, and convulsions.
Natural ways of preventing malaria
The most effective way of preventing malaria is to protect your body from mosquito bites. The following methods can be used to prevent mosquito bites, or at least reduce the risk.
- Use mosquito nets: The use of mosquito nets is especially important for people living in malaria endemic regions. There are many mosquito-treated nets available in the world today, with most of them costing nothing.
- Avoid staying outdoors: To reduce the risk of getting bitten by a mosquito, you should limit your time outside.
- Wear long clothing: If you must stay outside, then make sure that you are always wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants/trousers.
- Keep your surroundings clean: Mosquitoes thrive in dirty environments as they breed in stagnant water. To reduce the risk of developing malaria, ensure that you keep your surroundings clean.
Natural treatment methods for malaria
Here are some of the natural remedies for malaria, which can be done at home:
- Ginger: Ginger is one of the most versatile herbs available. The multiple medicinal properties of ginger is what makes it find application in the treatment of different diseases. In the case of malaria treatment, ginger’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial. Malaria symptoms such as headache and fever can be treated by chewing fresh ginger roots or drinking ginger tea.
- Fenugreek seeds: Malaria symptoms such as weakness and fever can be reduced by taking fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds are known to have immune-boosting properties that should help in combating the malaria parasite in the blood.
- Turmeric: The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties of turmeric come into play in the treatment of malaria. In addition, the detoxifying effect of turmeric also helps to flush out harmful substances in the body. If you have malaria and are experiencing symptoms like joint and muscle pain, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drink. Ensure that you drink the turmeric-milk mixture before going to bed at night.
- Fever nut: Fever nut seeds can also help to bring relief to malaria. You can get the best of fever nut seeds for malaria by mixing about 6 grams of the seeds in a glass of water and consuming.
- Tamarind: Tamarind is a storehouse of antioxidants, especially phytochemicals, which have healing properties. Sometimes malaria can cause loss of appetite. This poor appetite can be improved by using tamarind. Simply soak some tamarind in a bowl of water before going to bed at night. Then, strain the solution and drink first thing the next morning. This solution also helps in relieving other malaria symptoms like headache and fever.
- Alum: Alum is considered as one of the most effective home remedies for malaria symptoms. You can benefit from the medicinal power of alum if you have malaria. To do this, get some dry alum and grind to powder; then roast the powdered alum. After preparing the alum powder, consume half a teaspoon after a fever attack, and one teaspoon before.
- Orange juice: Citrus fruits like orange and lime are packed with many vitamins and minerals that help in protecting the body from infection. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, which is helpful in strengthening the immune system. Therefore, drinking orange juice can be an effective natural cure for malaria.
- Lemon juice: Like orange, lemon also has anti-malaria properties. Get an average size lemon and extract its juice. Mix a few drops of lime to the juice and dilute the mixture in a glass of water, then drink up. You should do this before an expected fever attack.
- Warm water: Severe malaria can cause diarrhea, which is marked by frequent and watery bowel movements. Drinking warm water can help to alleviate this complication, as well as help in cleansing the body of toxins. Apart from these, drinking about 8 glasses of warm water every day will help to speed up recovery when suffering from malaria.
- Strawberry: Strawberries and other berry fruits like raspberries can also be used for malaria treatment. These fruits are rich in antioxidants and other chemical compounds that help in fighting off plasmodium in the blood. To get the best from consuming strawberries, make sure you eat them regularly.
- Chamomile: Common malaria symptoms like fever and chills can be alleviated by drinking chamomile tea. Chamomile contains several antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help in treating malaria symptoms.
- Datura: Datura leaves have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and can be used in treating malaria. All you need to do to benefit from datura is to crush some fresh datura leaves to get its juice. Then, mix the datura extract with some jiggery and consume 2 hours before a fever attack.
- Cold compress: One of the first symptoms of malaria is fever, which is an increase in the body temperature. To reduce this high body temperature, you can try using a cold compress. You can prepare a cold compress by soaking a washcloth in cold water, and then wringing. Afterward, place the cold compress on your forehead to lower your body temperature. Repeat the placement procedure two more times each day for best results.
- Mustard oil: Mustard seed oil is another potent remedy for malaria. Using mustard oil for cooking or adding it to your smoothie is a natural way of fighting against the effects of the malaria parasite in the body.
- Holy basil: The leaves of the basil plant can also be used for malaria treatment, as well as prevention. For this method, get some fresh holy basil leaves and crush, and then mix with some ground black pepper. Consume the mixture daily to relieve some of the malaria symptoms.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been used for malaria treatment for decades now. Malaria fever can be treated using apple cider vinegar. To benefit from apple cider vinegar if you have malaria, drink a mixture of apple cider vinegar (two tablespoons) in a cup of water. Alternatively, you can make a cold compress using apple cider vinegar (similar to the one above, but in this case, you use apple cider vinegar in cold water).
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a common spice that finds use in the treatment of various ailments, including malaria. This is due to the fact that cinnamon is loaded with various antioxidants. For the purpose of treating malaria, boil a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a glass of water, and then drink the mixture when cool. You can add one teaspoon of honey to the solution for flavor.
- Grapefruit: Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice has also been shown to have positive effects on the symptoms of malaria. This is mainly due to the fact that grapefruit contains natural anti-malarial substances that help in combating the infection. To benefit from grapefruit, it is advised that you boil the pulp of the fruit and drink when cool.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that has led to the deaths of millions of people. The above-mentioned natural remedies are to aid in the treatment of this endemic disease, and should in no way substitute professional medical treatment. And although the natural treatment methods listed in this article are effective, you need to consult with your doctor before trying any method.