Precaution against herbal concoctions for dengue

The cornerstone for dengue treatment remains fluid replacement and blood products (not any herbal concoctions).

According to Dr. Enrique Tayag, Director of the National Epidemiology Center, of the Department of Health, the public should be careful with taking herbal concoctions for dengue fever.

Some herbal available in the market do not pass the Food and Drug Administration (FAD) standards and therefore may be contaminated.

“There are some herbal that contains toxic ingredients that we are not aware of unless they are analyze by Food and Drug Administration we can give ample precautions,” Dr. Tayag told Yam’s Files.

Practically, everyone is taking some form of herbal not only for dengue but for other reasons.

Misconceptions:

There was an observation (in Singapore) that it increases plate count of dengue patients. “We should warn them (public) not to take it upon themselves to extract Papaya juice and drink it to cure dengue.”

Blood transfusion (of patient in Singapore) caused the improvement of the platelet count and Papaya juice is just coincidental.

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Gatas-gatas or Tawa-Tawa plants – said to have a substance that stops bleeding (currently being studied by the DOH for its potential to cure dengue).

Neem tree – has repellant factor. Oil extracted from the plant has topical application. It can cause encephalopathy when ingested.

Kulantro (for measles) – relieves itchiness when applied on the skin. The acid found in it (corrosive) can cause death when ingested.

Recommendation:

Check the ingredients and application of herbal preparation (as it might have interaction with the medicine that you are currently taking). Look for the FDA seal. This means that the herbal preparation has been tested and FDA approved.

“We are not saying that herbal has no role in medicine. What we are saying is that it (herbal) might create a false sense of security. Feeling better after herbal doesn’t mean something good happened against that particular condition or disease,” Dr. Tayag said.

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