Malaria

(see also AGUE) In Africa, it is common to see hedges of NEEM TREE (Melia indica) grown close to houses, because of its reputation as a cure for malaria (Sofowora). In the Balkans, it was dealt with by steeping SAGE leaves and stems in brandy, and then straining it off (Kemp). OPIUM POPPY, and opium itself, used to be the standard medicine for malaria, or ague, as it was called, in the Fen country of England. Doctors said that it had more effect than quinine (V G Hatfield. 1994). Every Fenland garden had a patch of these poppies growing, and "Poppy tea", made from the seeds, was a general fever remedy there. BUCKBEAN has been used for the complaint, perhaps doctrine of signatures, for this plant prefers wet, marshy ground. Hill, in the mid-18111 century, mentions this use for the dried leaves, and it also crops up in Russian domestic medicine. Four or five tablespoonfuls of the dried herb in a gallon of vodka, kept for two weeks, and one small wineglassful to be taken daily (Kourennoff). Presumably, the fact that Buckbean is a sedative would help.

In Sierra Leone, the leaf of a BAOBAB is used as a prophylactic against the disease (Emboden. 1974), and in central Africa, a decoction of BARWOOD (Pterocarpus angolensis) root is used to cure, not only malaria, but also blackwater fever (Palgrave).

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