About the Illness

Malaria is an infection of the blood that causes chills and high fever. It is spread by mosquitoes.
The mosquito sucks up the malaria parasites in the blood of an infected person and injects them into the next person it bites. Symptoms usually show 14 days after infection.


Common Symptoms

The typical attack has three stages:
1. Starts with chills and often headache. Shivering or shaking for 15 minutes to an hour.
2. Chills are followed by fever (often 40º C or more). You are weak, flushed and at times delirious. This stage can last for hours or even days.
3. Finally you begin to sweat and your temperature goes down. After an attack you feel weak, but otherwise more or less all right.

Usually malaria causes fevers every 2 or 3 days (depending on the kind of malaria) but in the beginning fevers may be daily. The fever pattern may not be regular or typical.
For this reason anyone suffering from unexplained fevers should have their blood tested for malaria.


Children's Issues

In young children, anaemia and paleness can begin within a day or two.
In children with malaria affecting the brain, fits may be followed by periods of unconsciousness.



Important Information

You should seek professional help:

  • If you suspect malaria, or have repeated fevers, it is best to go for a blood test and obtain appropriate medication to treat it.
  • If you get better with the medicine, but after several days the fevers start again, you may need a different medicine. Get advice from the nearest health centre.
  • If someone with symptoms of malaria who begins to have fits or shows other signs of meningitis may have cerebral malaria. This needs immediate professional attention.


Herbal Therapy

Manage the fever using suggestions offered on page 89. Treat the malaria using one of these remedies:
Artemisia annua Leaf Infusion Soak 2 handfuls of leaves in 1 ltr of boiling water for 15 minutes then filter. Divide into 4 equal amounts and drink every 6 hours for 7 days. (10-16 yrs: 1/2 ltr divided into 4 equal amounts, drink every 6 hours; 6-10 yrs: prepare 1/2 ltr with 1 handful of leaves and divide into 4 equal amounts and drink every 6 hours; up to 6 yrs: don't use without professional supervision).



Infusion
 
  • Boil water and pour over herbs.  
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes.  
  • Filter through a clean cloth and use within 1 day.

[Infusion]
Good for:All
Neem Tea Boil a handful of leaves in 1 ltr water for 15-20 minutes. Drink 1 glass 3x daily for 7 days. (10-16 yrs: 1/2 glass 3x daily; 6-10 yrs 1/4 glass 3x daily; up to 6 yrs: don't use).

Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:All

Food and Nutrition Advice

Foods to Avoid:
Sugary foods, including fruits (especially mango).


Body Work and General Advice

  • Avoid mosquitoes and sleep under a bed net (preferably treated with insecticide).
  • Always cover sleeping babies.
  • If you suspect malaria, get treatment quickly. After you have been treated, mosquitoes that bite you will not pass on malaria to others.
  • Destroy mosquitoes and their young. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant waters collected in ponds, pits, old cans or broken pots. You can keep mosquitoes away by ensuring there is no such water around your house.