Friday, February 22, 2008

Sweet Potato Tops: Can Cure Dengue Hemorraghic Fever?

It's circulating on the internet that Camote (Sweet Potato - Ipomoea batatas) tops can cure Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). Posted below is a portion of the transcript that can be found in various websites and blogs.

"A MAJOR international public health concern." That is how the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) considers dengue, which is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world, predominantly in urban and semi-urban areas.

Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death. It is the virulent form -- the dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) - that is lethal to human beings. DHF was first recognized in the 1950s during the dengue epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand.

Today, DHF affects most Asian countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization (about 500,000 cases each year) and death (most of the victims are children).

Until now, dengue vaccine is still not available. Recently, however, attenuated candidate vaccine viruses have been developed, reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Efficacy trials in human volunteers have yet to be initiated. Research is also being conducted to develop second-generation recombinant vaccine viruses.

"Therefore, an effective dengue vaccine for public use will not be available for 5 to 10 years," CDC states.

But there is good news. "There is hope that the dengue scourge will be obliterated," said an e-mail I received recently. Thanks to sweet potato, or more popularly known as "camote."

The e-mail sender wrote: "I was in a meeting in Manila recently with other officials. While waiting for my flight back to Cebu, I happened to talk with friends. The conversation eventually turned to dengue. Some of their statements shocked me. I called up the persons concerned and they all have confirmed."

"I asked a doctor of medicine about herbal cures and he said that many, if not most, medicines come from plants," the e-mail sender noted, adding that "We need not do research deep in the rainforests of the Amazon or venture into the ocean depths in search of the elusive cure for dengue. It is right there in our own backyard."

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, shares this information about sweet potato: "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato."

What's in a sweet potato, anyway? "Sweet potato tops are excellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which may protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases," Wikipedia informs. "Sweet potato greens have the highest content of total polyphenolics among other commercial vegetables studied."

Even more: "Sweet potatoes contain protein, dietary fiber, lipid, and essential minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, aluminum and boron. Sweet potatoes are also important sources of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid."

According to the e-mail sender, to save her daughter from the complications of dengue, Mr. Salaga bought five sheaves (bigkis) of camote cuttings at P5 per sheaf. Each sheaf consists of about 12 cuttings (measured about one foot).

Here's how to prepare the drink: "Camote tops are boiled in water to extract the juice. The boiling lasts for about five minutes. A little salt is used to give flavor to it. The patient is made to drink slowly and gradually. The body's immunity system is thus revived, making dengue helpless against the body's natural defenses. Camote enables the body to heal itself."

This is just for your information. Be sure to talk with your doctor when dealing with deadly disease like dengue fever.


But, Philippines Dept. of Health didn't confirmed if Sweet Potato tops is really the long awaited cure for Dengue Hemorraghic Fever (DHF), part of the interview of the Dept. of Health Secretary Dr. Tayag was featured in Primetime News Report "24 Oras" (24 hours) in GMA Networks.

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