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THE RISE in dengue cases is alarming. There must be something we can do to protect ourselves.

I contacted Doctors Juven and Nancy Ordoña, who referred me to Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, MD, MPH (Integrative, Herbal, Traditional Chinese and Preventive Medicine, former Secretary of Health).

Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Tan granted me this interview. ?I had to meet with you, to make people aware of this real serious situation. We?ve had dengue but the number of cases this year and the deaths are much more than in previous decades.

?The dengue mosquito (aedesaegypti) thrives here. They breed in clean stagnant water, conventionally in flower vases, tansan, bottles, cans, tires, holes on the ground.?

A research done by World Health Organization in the Philippines interestingly pointed to the ?dish drainer? (where plates drip after washing) to be one of the most common places they thrive in. The little water that flows left unchecked, in days, will have larvae. Soon dengue mosquitoes are multiplying inside your house.?

?Climate change could very well be a cause. Mosquitoes love hot temperatures. Even around the world where there used to be no dengue, there now are reported cases.?

How does one avoid dengue?

?Get rid of breeding places. Fogging doesn?t help, it just drives the mosquitoes away. The chemicals used could, in fact, be more harmful.

?The mosquitoes bite in the daytime so wear pants, long sleeves. Use a repellant?soap or lotion.?

Repellant recipe

?Chop one cup each of the following: basil leaves, tanglad, dahong sili plus one to two pieces of green siling labuyo. Mix to combine with one cup virgin-coconut, coconut or baby oil. You can add eucalyptus or nim tree leaves. It may be used immediately, keeps for three to four days then make a new batch.?

Can the body heal itself from dengue?

?I say most cases heal themselves, some people have it without knowing it. Their body?s immunity fights it off.

?Then, dengue was suspected only on the fourth or fifth day, when the platelet count goes down. Now, St. Luke?s has a dengue anti-bodies test that detects it very early on so support treatment can be given immediately.?

Tropical grass

?We have a tropical grass found everywhere called taua-taua. Also known as mata-mata ?leaves shaped like eyes; buto-butones?small button-like flowers; gatas-gatas?when stem is bended, there?s a milky substance. It is scientifically known as euphorbia hierta.

?Taua-taua is not a cure, does not kill the virus, but is a hemostatic (hemo, blood; static, stops the blood, stops hemorrhaging). Dengue is hemorrhagic fever, which is why it could be fatal. It has no cure and treatment is symptomatic.

?The first evidence that it increases the platelet count came from doctors in Cebu.?

?Taua-taua? tea recipe

?I follow traditional wisdom. Take upon suspicion or when there is confirmation that the platelet count is down.

Wash to clean taua-taua, include roots, in running water.

Briefly soak, wash grass again in water with one teaspoon each vinegar, baking soda and salt to thoroughly clean it. Rinse.

Chop three taua-taua, add 500-ml water and place for 15 minutes over very low flame. Do not cover. Low heat aids in the extraction of the active ingredients, boiling doesn?t extract as much. I believe in slow food cooking, not fast food.

Strain. Drink tree times a day.

Take warm with calamansi and brown, raw or coconut sugar, if desired.?

Nutritional regimen for dengue

?I cannot overemphasize this enough. If you sleep seven hours undisturbed at night, drink fluids every hour on the hour (12 glasses or one glass from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.), exercise, eat fruits and vegetables?three to five servings a day. We can almost be assured that immunity toward dengue is high.

?Dark green leafy vegetables: kamote tops, kangkong leaves, malunggay, dahong sili, saluyot provide immunity, vitamins A and C, best. If possible eat raw?as a salad, blanched, half-cooked. Overcooking destroys 70 percent of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals.

?Eat yellow?banana, citrus, langka, durian, papaya, mangoes; red?papaya, tomato and orange-colored fruit juices. Drink five to seven glasses a day.

?Turmeric/yellow ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Take it as a tea or with food.

?Take one tablespoon virgin coconut oil three times a day; for children below 10, take one teaspoon. VCO has lauric acid which is anti-viral, it destroys the virus.?

?Avoid processed food, high-sugar drinks, artificial juices. Eat and drink fresh whenever possible.

?For sponge/bathing: In traditional Philippine medicine, steep guava leaves, tanglad, pandan. Add blumea or sambong. These aromatics give a soothing, calming effect.?

Call Dr. Galvez Tan at 4704955-4118698 (Living Life Well, SM Megamall Atrium).


Next week: my hands-on fresh pasta and pizza class, also join my Market Culinary Tour. Call 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346, 4008496 or 9289296.

E-mail the author at raspiras