Malaria and Tropical Illness

Olive leaf extract may offer considerable potential in the treatment of tropical infections such as malaria and dengue.

Malaria is caused by parasitic protozoans injected into the body by infected mosquitoes. Protozoans, in case you are interested, are one-celled organisms, the simplest creatures in the animal kingdom.

As far back as 1827, reports have appeared in medical literature indicating the benefits of olive leaf extract in the treatment of malaria. In 1906, one report stated that olive leaves were, in fact, superior to quinine for malarial infections. Quinine was preferred, however, because it was easier to administer. In studies performed by the Upjohn company, calcium elenolate, the substance within oleuropein, was found to be effective against the malaria protozoa.

Now in tablet form, there may be renewed interest in olive leaf extract as an anti-malarial agent. Preliminary reports from Latin America are promising.

A full-fledged case of malaria at a clinic in Mexico was totally cured with a dosage schedule of two olive leaf extract supplements every six hours. A clinic report said that the 34-year-old female patient made a steady recovery and after six months, "she was without any of the malaria symptoms, not even anemia or shivers. Her breath is good. Her state of mind excellent and she does not show any signs of chronic or contagious disease."

Malaria has been reported recently in Texas and continues to be a leading cause of illness and deaths worldwide, particularly because of the development of drug-resistant strains. "It is a continuing concern in the United States because of increased international migration, travel, and commerce, " according to the publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.

Another serious tropical disease giving concern to public health officials is dengue fever. This ailment is also mosquito-borne, in this case caused by a virus, and occurs mainly in tropical Asia and the Caribbean. It can cause vomiting, high fever, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, and is deadly in 50 percent of the cases. Some 50 million people are affected each year and about half a million require hospitalization, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are trying to find a vaccine but no breakthroughs have occurred yet.

In 1995, large outbreaks of dengue were reported by health authorities in 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

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