Who does not love a hot bowl of clear soup broth. Now the more reason to love it because your grandmother’s clear soup may hold the secret to prevent malaria from spreading!
A new research in Britain has discovered that traditional clear soup broths which our ancestors have been making it time immemorial has anti-malarial properties.
This research was carried out at Imperial College London, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and Eden Primary School (London). They studied and analysed the soups brought by the children at the school. This new study was to test whether certain homemade clear soup broths made from chicken, beef or vegetable might have anti-malarial properties.
And it is not just any recipe but the researchers want soup broth with recipes passed down from generations and meant to treat fever. The children in the study were from diverse ethnic backgrounds from across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The base ingredients included chicken, beef, beetroot and cabbage.
The research tested 56 clear soup broths. Filtered extracts of each soup were incubated for 72 hours with different cultures of Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum). This parasite is the deadliest of the malarial parasites and can be transmitted when you are bitten by an infected mosquito. It also accounts for an estimated 99.7% of malaria cases in Africa, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
The researches hope to discover whether any of the broths could halt the growth of sexually immature parasites which cause malaria. It also hopes to see if it can also block sexual maturation which is the stage at which the parasite can infect the mosquito.
What triggered this research was when artemisinin-based combination therapies for malaria caught their interest.
One such discovery was in 1972 by a Chinese scientist, Professor Dr Tu Youyou. She discovered that artemisinin can be used against malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. She was instrumental in isolating and extracting an anti-malarial substance, Artemisinin from the herbal plant Quinghao or otherwise known as Artemisia Annua. This herb had been used in Eastern medicine to treat fever for some 2,000 years. This research has led to the synthetic production of artemisinin, a drug now used as a standard treatment worldwide to treat malaria. She was a co- recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery. (extracted from Wikipedia)
Such discoveries had set the researches to wonder whether other natural remedies might also have anti-malarial properties.
Their findings were recently published recently in November 2019, in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. It has revealed that five of the clear soup broths were able to slow down the growth of the sexually immature parasite by more than 50%. And also in two of these broths, the effect was comparable to a leading anti-malarial drug dihydroartemisinin.
Four other broths were more than 50% effective at blocking sexual maturation which could also potentially stop the transmission of the disease.
Researcher Jake Baum said they were happy and excited when they started getting soups that worked, in the lab under very restricted conditions. However, he noted that it was still unclear which particular specific ingredients had the anti-malarial properties.
He added that the veggie-only soups showed similar results to the meat-based ones, much to the delight of the vegetarians involved in this study.
Jake Baum said he had wanted to teach the children the process through which scientific research can turn a herbal remedy into a synthetically-produced medicine. It is very much like the earlier mentioned discovery by Professor Dr Tu Youyou.
This research is thought to be the first of its kind. It suggests that natural resources such as clear soup broths might help to combat malaria. It is a disease which poses a threat to half the world’s population. Killing some 400,000 people in a year.
Moreover, it has also grown resistant to the drugs used to treat it. Baum noted in a press release that scientists have to “look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs”. He said that “The lesson for me was more that there may well be golden recipes out there in the world for disease that remain untapped”.
This article is for general health information only and not meant to treat any disease.
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