Weird Medicine

Chicken Soup Found As Effective Homemade Cure For Malaria

A simple homemade soup may soon help fight malaria. Researchers found that traditional broths could prevent the growth of the deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 87 countries were affected by malaria in 2017. In the same year, 219 million infections and 435,000 deaths were linked to the disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. 

Estimates show that malaria kills nearly 500,000 children every year. P. falciparum contributes to 99 percent of all malaria deaths. 

For the new study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers at Imperial College London asked children to bring their families' soup recipes to school. The team said the soup broths provided by families originated around the world, including Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. 

The recipes ranged from vegetarian, chicken to beef based. Researchers analyzed the samples for activity against the malaria parasite. 

They found that traditional recipes worked against P. falciparum by reducing its growth or preventing it from maturing.

Five soups were able to stop the growth of the parasite in its disease-causing stage by more than 50 percent. Two samples even prevented malaria as effectively as as common antimalarial drug dihydroartemisinin.

Another set of broths appeared effective to block the ability of P. falciparum to mature by more than 50 percent. This prevented the parasite from reaching the form that infects mosquitoes.

“Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year and infects more than 200 million, yet resistance to our frontline drugs continues to emerge,” Jake Baum, lead researcher and a professor at Imperial College London, said in a statement. “We may have to look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs, and natural remedies shouldn't be off our watch list.”

The researchers plan to continue the study and understand how traditional soups directly work against malaria. They also want to determine the active ingredients that targeted the P. falciparum parasite. 

“It's really interesting to find potential routes for future drug development in something like your grandmother's soup,” Baum added. “In all honesty, the true strength of the study however was engaging children in the idea of what's the difference between a natural remedy a real medicine - the answer is evidence!"

chicken soup Chicken soup and other traditional broths made across the world have been found effective to help prevent the spread of malaria. Pixabay

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