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Tawa Tawa Leaves

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Tawa Tawa Leaves and flowers
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Herbal Alternative Health

Tawa Tawa or Gatas Gatas

From the Republic of the Philippines
Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry


  • Euphorbia capitata Lam.
  • Euphorbia hirta Linn.
  • Local names: Bambanilag (If.); botobotonis (Tag.); bolobotonis (Pamp.); bobi (Bis.); botonis (Ilk.); bugayau (S.L. Bis.); butobutonisan (Tag.); gatas-gatas (Bis., Tag.); magatas (Pamp.); malis-malis (Pamp.); maragatas (Ilk.); pansi-pansi (Bik.); patik-patik (Sul.); piliak (Sub.); saikan (Tag.); sisiohan (Pamp.); soro-soro (Bik.); tababa (Bis.); tairas (Iv.); tauataua (P. Bis.); teta (Bon.); Australian asthma weed, snake weed, cat's hair (Engl.).

Gatas-gatas is usually very abundant throughout the Philippines in waste places, open grasslands, etc. It is pantropic in distribution.

The plant is an annual, hairy herb, usually much - branched from the base - these branches being simple or forked and ascending or spreading - up to 40 centimeters long, and often reddish or purplish. The leaves are opposite, distichous, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 1 to 2.5 centimeters long, toothed at the margin, and usually botched with purple in the middle. The involucres are very much numerous, greenish or purplish, about 1 millimeter long, and borne on dense, axillary, stalkless or short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes. The capsules are broadly ovoid, about 1.5 millimeters long or less, hairy, and three-angled.

According to Power and Browning, Jr., who conducted chemical studies of the plant, from the portion of the alcoholic extract which was soluble in water the following substances were isolated:
(1) Gallic acid;
(2) quercetin C15H10O7;
(3) a new phenolic substance, C28H18O15. The aqueous liquid contained, furthermore a considerable quantity of amorphous glucosidic material, together with a laevorotatory sugar which yielded d-phenylglucosazone (m.,p. 218-220°). There were also indications of the presence of an exceedingly small amount of alkaloidal substance, but this did not permit of being further characterized. The portion of the alcoholic extract, which was insoluble in water consisted of soft, resinous material, amounting to about 3.2 percent of the weight of the air-dried plant. From this material there were isolated:
(4) Triacontane, C30H62, with apparently a little
(5) ceryl alcohol, C27H56O; and
(6) a new monohydric alcohol, euphosterol, C25H39OH (m.,p. 274-297°), which yielded an acetyl derivative (m., p. 295-297°) and a bromoacetyl derivative (m., p. 183-186°). Euphosterol is evidently closely related to the compounds designated respectively as androsterol, homoandrosterol, taraxasterol and homotaraxasterol, all of which appear to be members of a series of monohydric alcohols represented by the general formula, CnH2n0-10 O. Also present are
(7) a phytosterol ( m., p. 132-133°);
(8) a phytosteroin (phytosterol glucoside);
(9) jambulol, C16H3O4 (OH);
(10) melissic acid, C30H60O2; and a mixture of acids which appeared to consist chiefly of palmitic, oleic and linolic acids.

Among the various above-mentioned constituents of Euphorbia pilulifera there are none to which any specific physiological action may be ascribed. Such therapeutic virtues as the plant has been presumed to possess would therefore not appear to depend upon any single substance of a definite chemical character. Dutt remarks that recent chemical research shows that some of the constituents of the plant are similar to those of the jambul (Syzygium cumini) seeds.

Marsset, who studied the pharmacological action of this euphorbia extract, found that it had a depressant action on the heart and respiration and produced a relaxation of the bronchioles by its central action. She continues by saying that intravenous injections do not produce any vomiting, showing that the drug is a true local irritant. Its pharmacological action so far investigated indicates that its use in spasmodic conditions of the respiratory tract at least is rational. She continues that it has produced good results in dyspnoea due to asthma and emphysema.

In the Philippines the leaves are mixed with Datura metel leaves and flowers in the preparation of "asthma-cigarettes". Father Alzina reports that the latex is prescribed in asthma. According to Guerrero, the entire plant is used as an antidote, being considered haemostatic, sedative and soporific. In decoction it is very efficacious for allaying the dyspnoea of asthmatics. Its haemostatic action had been previously reported by Father Alzina, Father de Sta. Maria, Father Blanco, and Tavera. In addition, Father de Sta. Maria says the latex is esthetic.

According to Nadkarni, Dymock, Warden and Hooper, and Bocquillon-Limousin the fluid extract or the tincture is most suitable in dyspnoea due to asthma, in bronchitis of old people, in emphysema, and in the pulmonary cardiac disease, angina pectoris. Its action is not cumulative. Nadkarni adds that it should be given after meals. It is a very useful remedy for acute and chronic dysentery. The tincture is anthelmintic and is applied for cure of ringworm.

It is popularly used in Australia and other places for asthma and pectoral complaints. In India the plant is used largely in affections of children, chiefly in bowel complaints and chest affections. The milky juice is dropped into the eyes for conjunctivitis and ulcerated cornea.

It is said to be used in a decoction for gonorrhea in Brazil, possibly because it acts as a diuretic, and it is also used for asthma.

The root is given by the Santals to allay vomiting, and the plant is given to nursing mothers when the supply of milk is deficient or fails. In the Gold Coast it is ground and mixed with water for use as an enema for constipation. The herb is very much used in La Reunion as an astringent in chronic diarrheas and dysenteries. The roots are employed in intermittent fevers.

Using Tawa Tawa for simple Fevers or Dengue Fever

By: Frank Maletsky

  1. Pick the fresh tawa-tawa leaves (8 inches long stems and about a dozen). Simply cut the stem which will normally come with the leaves and flowers. Do not pick the ones with brown leaves. Wash them with fresh water to remove dirt. Pound what you have collected in a mortar and pestle. Prepare boiling hot water. Pour the boiling water (10oz.) directly into the mortar (container). Let it cool down, then pour the contents using a strainer into a bowl or tall glass (10 oz.), squeeze out all the juice from the solids. Make enough to last the whole day. One glass every 4 hours.
    • The first 10 oz. glass will produce immediate positive results within 2 hours. Fever will be reduced. Maintain hydration.
  2. Tawa-Tawa Tea: Cleaned and Dried tawa-tawa leaves can be made into tea. Dry the tawa tawa leaves and store them in a clean sealed glass container. You can use the dried leaves as is or crushed.
Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

What Tawa Tawa is used for

  • Reduce Fever
  • Herbal remedy for Dengue Fever.
  • Relief for Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • emphysema

Where can Tawa Tawa be found?

Tawa Tawa grows in all tropical areas as a wild weed. I was in Orlando, Florida and i saw tawa tawa growing wild. I always keep a few growing in my garden. I even use tawa-tawa as an add-on to some of my potted plants.

News About Tawa Tawa



The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD, DOST) in partnership with the Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University (IPC, ADMU) is currently redeveloping PCHRD’s eHealth portal program with special focus on the PCHRD’s Drug Discovery and Development Program (DDDP).

The eHealth Philippines (Philippine Electronic Health Information Village) was designed to be an internet-linked community where health specialist and generalist and other health enthusiasts can interact with each other on specific health issues, topics and at the same time have access to the specialty database, journal articles, advisories and directory type information. The eHealth portal was launched to the public in 1998 and redesigned in 2003, but was deactivated in 2008 due to management and sustainability issues. Now, it is currently being redeveloped and reactivated.

One of the objectives of the 2012 eHealth redevelopment project is the conduct of two online conferences on emerging and current health issues. These online conferences intend to strengthen the community-building aspect of PCHRD’s eHealth initiative by providing health enthusiasts and experts an enabling virtual environment where they can converge and discuss specific health-related issues without the constraints of time and space.

Three online conferences were already conducted on the eHealth website. The first one, “Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO): Kasalukuyang Kaalaman at Kaugnay na mga Programa”, was held last 13-14 September 2012. The second conference, “What We Should Know about the New SARS-like Virus?”, was held last 11 October 2012. The most recent eHealth online conference, “Tawa-Tawa para sa Dengue: Mga Pangako at Pangamba ng Halamang Gamot na Ito”, was held last 9 November 2012. This third online conference intends to be a venue to review available studies and generate key insights on the popular use of Tawa-Tawa plant (Euphorbia hirta l.) for dengue and other illnesses.

Five resource speakers were able to share their expertise regarding the tawa-tawa plant and its purported medicinal properties. They were Ms. Maria Luisa Daroy of the Research and Biotechnology Division of St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Isidro Sia of the UP Institute of Herbal Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Troy Gepte of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business Health Unit, Ms. Lilibeth delos Reyes of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Healthcare, and Dr. Anne Remonte of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. The conference was moderated by Dr. Dennis Batangan of the IPC-ADMU and Dr. Gemiliano Aligui, Dean of the UERMMMC Graduate School and Associate Professor and Research Coordinator of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Below is the conference discussion points synthesized by Dr. Aligui.

Tawa-tawa (E.hirta) is a popular plant that has folkloric origins in the traditional medical management of dengue and other viral infections. This medicinal plant is found not only in the Philippines but in other parts of the world. It has gained attention due to our increasing problem of dengue. While we have evidence to show that the crude extract of E. hirta has shown improvement in platelet numbers and clinical laboratory measures such as bleeding time in animal models, the basic mechanism of improvement and accelerated healing is still not clear.

Research is currently on-going in SLMC (St. Luke’s Medical Center), UST (University of Sto. Tomas), UP-NIH (National Institutes of Health), UERMMMCI (University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc.) and Xavier University, some of which are done and published but some of them have not been published. Among the institutions, SLMC provides the most number of basic, but very critical studies, with substantial research contributed by UST, Xavier and UP-NIH. UERMMMCI provides important observational studies in humans which can actually determine empirical toxicity based on historical data. Actually, if we can only get as much data from past users and find the variation of preparations, we can reconstruct a dose response assessment, although limited. All of these are important for the development of the plant towards drug discovery. However, we must also appreciate that the depth of research would need to encompass the public health importance of the widespread use of the plant for dengue as well as the important aspects of pre-clinical and clinical trials - Phase 1, 2, 3.

In the conference, we note that the toxicity studies were limited and there have been substantial efficacy studies in animal models. The integration of these studies into one directed goal of producing a safe and effective product from nature rests upon the function of PCHRD-DOST (Philippine Council for Health research and Development). PITAHC (Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Medicine) as a legal entity needs to direct traditional medicine research and practice. PITAHC has the mandate to identify the public health gaps and set priorities for directed funding mechanisms.

In these settings, the marriage of policy and science is needed to move the system forward in a unified and harmonised manner, to produce results almost immediately perhaps. Most of our questions beg to know efficacy but the question is: How far can we push the "informal dosing" of Tawa-tawa that can help prevent an adverse event especially that we think the underprivileged use them the most? Should we not settle the issue of toxicity given that we are almost definite that there is empirical evidence of efficacy?

The eHealth Philippines portal, through this tawa-tawa online conference, aimed of contributing to the on-going dialogues and research studies on probing the medicinal efficacy and safety of the tawa-tawa plant.

The Benefits Of Using Tawa Tawa Tea

By Kirina Jose

There are a number of uses and benefits of the Tawa Tawa tea that will be of a lot of use to you if you are able to utilize in the most well-suited manner. There are many people who want to find out about Kratom for sale. The Tawa Tawa tea can be a lot more effective because of a number of reasons, as stated by a number of well-known and reliable sites like The fact is that you will be very surprised to find out that the Tawa Tawa tea will be very useful to you in case you suffer from diseases like bronchitis and asthma.

If you do not know about the reasons because of which the Tawa Tawa tea will be very helpful to people who suffer from asthma or bronchitis, then you should find out about them. There is no doubt at all about the fact that you will be in a very good stead if you try and find out relevant info from online sites. It must be your duty to make sure that you get your info from reliable and popular sites only. In case the sites are not reliable, you will end up with the incorrect info. This is not at all the kind of situation that you will want to be in.

There are many things that you will need to keep in mind if and when you want to buy and use the Tawa Tawa tea for the various health benefits that it has. You will be in a very good stead if you have all the info about the best brands of Tawa Tawa tea. It is always better to opt for the best brands of the Tawa Tawa tea because the overall quality of the lesser known brands will not be as good as you want. This, in turn, will reduce the overall benefits that you will be able to get your hands on. This is not the kind of situation you will want to be in.

One very smart way to find out about the best brands of Tawa Tawa tea is to read the reviews. There is a very good chance that the reviews of the various brands of the Tawa Tawa tea will allow you to buy the most well suited brand of Tawa Tawa tea as per your desires, wants and needs. The fact is that you will be able to find out all the pros as well as cons of a certain brand of Tawa Tawa tea if you read the reviews posted on reliable sites.

The other thing that you must keep in mind about the Tawa Tawa tea is that it is very useful in case of skin problems as well. There are a number of serious skin wounds that can be treated with a lot of ease by the amazing Tawa Tawa tea. You will also need to be aware of the fact that the Tawa Tawa tea can be of a lot of use in case you want treatment for your oral ulcers.

Tawa-Tawa Tea Amazing Health Benefits To The Body

By Jay Nelz

Tawa-Tawa tea amazing health benefits to the body. It is also called as Euphorbia Hirta that is effective in for treating many diseases in the body.

This plant is a hairy herbaceous plant that can usually found on the side of the road, houses, or even in any part of a tropical country like the Philippines. Euphorbia Hirta is commonly used as medicinal herb due to its unique chemical structure that contains a numerous number of nutrients that as powerful effects in the body.

For over a thousand of years this plant was used traditionally for medicinal purposes and in this modern days, the study on this plan is conducted to discover all of its potential health benefits in the human body.

The leaves, flowers, and sap of this herbaceous plant are all useful in their own ways. This is also called as “Asthma Leaves” because it is effective in treating asthma. Aside from treating asthma, it can treat a numerous type of infections and diseases in the body.

According to a laboratory result “Tawa-Tawa tea” contains an increasing platelet count element in the body. The results show that it can also reduce the bleeding time and the blood clotting time.

This tea can lower the blood pressure, prevent dehydration, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-amoeba agent properties. It can also treat urinary tract infection, dengue fever, asthma, bronchitis, skin problems, oral ulcers, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory health.

It contains relaxing agent, increases platelet production, anti-parasitic, and other nutrients that are beneficial to the body.

Euphorbia hirta plant medicinal uses and images

By Anoop Sharma
Euphorbia hirta medicinal benefits and pictures

Euphorbia hirta is a common herb mostly found in Suriname (a state in South America). It’s a hairy plant and grows as tall as 2’ in length. It bears several flowers and is clustered along with oblong leaves. The leaves appear on either side of the stem. It produces yellow fruits which appear like capsules with reddish seeds. As it’s an annual herb, it produces fruits and flowers throughout the year. Milky latex is present in every part of the plant. Its chemical composition includes tannins, sterols, glycosides, alkenes, alkaloids, triterpenoids, choline, quercetin and shikimic acid.

Common Name
Asthma Weed, Cats hair. It is also known as Bara dudhi in hindi.
Botanical Name and Family
Botanical Name: Euphorbia hirta
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)
Geological area where Euphorbia hirta grows
It grows in tropical countries and is most likely native to India. Asthma Weed can be seen growing in the wild, unmanaged gardens. It mostly grows on its own in waste places. It grows in areas ranging from East Asia to Himalayas.

Medicinal uses of Euphorbia hirta

As the name suggests, it is primarily used against chronic asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory problems. It is used against many other diseases and has endless medical benefits as listed below:

• Euphorbia hirta plant is used in treating eye related problems like conjunctivitis. This is possibly because the leaves possess an alcoholic extract, which is fairly effective against negative gram bacteria.
• A concentrated liquor form of the plant is used for gargle as a treatment for fevers, and the paste made from leaves is used on swelling, sores and skin problems.
• It is also effective against intestinal amoebic dysentery in some tropical countries. It is also known to be useful for people suffering for vomiting, diarrhea and also for constipation in some cases.
• Euphorbia hirta can also be used to control blood flow from bruises and helps to stop the bleeding.
• It is diuretic in nature. The leaf extracts has diuretic effects, which can increase the output of urine in the body.
• It can prove to be helpful against dengue fever. It has properties to re-balance the platelet count in the body, which is often reduced in dengue. It has the ability to manage electrolyte excretion, which may be the main reason for its curative properties against dengue fever.
• It has also been tried for treating syphilis. The sap is used on the blisters so as to destroy them. This process should be repeated a couple of times in a day and for several weeks to see desired results.

It may be noted that it should always be taken under proper guidance and consultation as it can also become a cause for vomiting and gastro-intestinal pain in some cases.

‘Tawa-Tawa' Study Fast-tracked


Is a cure for the dreaded dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) coming?

This question cropped up as the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), told the Manila Bulletin that a research on tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) is being fasttracked.

PCHRD is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD).

Along with DOST's two other sectoral planning councils, its tasks include the formulation of policies, plans, projects and strategies for Science and Technology (S&T), among others.

Dr. Jose Montoya, PCHRD executive director, said the research on tawa-tawa as a potential herbal medicine for dengue is being hastened.

"That is because there is a need," he says.

He said PCHRD is funding the research on tawa-tawa, a plant of the genus Euphorbia, to find out if it can increase the number of platelet count of a dengue patient.

Tawa-tawa, also known as "gatas-gatas," is a hairy herb that normally grows in grounds at home, in grasslands, roadsides, or pathways.

As a folkloric treatment in the Philippines for dengue, tawa-tawa has earned many anecdotal testimonies from those who purportedly became well from the plant's concoction: its leaves boiled like a tea and taken orally like, well, a tea.

Understandably, many others are skeptical of tawa-tawa's alleged healing properties against dengue; this is because there is no scientific evidence yet backing up claims.

The government, through the DOST-PCHRD, embarked on a new study to ascertain the science of tawa-tawa's therapeutic properties.

"We are the ones (PCHRD) funding the research," said Montoya, an academician and one of the recipients of the 2012 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awards.

"It is like this," he said, "the first study done showed (tawa-tawa) has effect on the dengue virus; that is killing the virus."

"The second question is, does it raise platelet count in dengue patients? That is still being studied," Montoya said.

He said the result of the study might be known within the year, or early next year.

"So, the research on the platelet is still ongoing; but the one on the (dengue) virus is already finished," he added.

Montoya was referring to the study done by students of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), titled "Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of Euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models."

In their study, they found out that the herbal plant has active ingredients that may aid in the treatment of DHF patients.

Euphorbia hirta – a possible cure for dengue

By Dr. Emilia Kristina Maramba

Dengue is a public health problem in worldwide. The incidence has increased 30-fold over the past 50 years, with Asia representing about 75 percent of the global burden and Southeast Asia as the region with the highest incidence.

In the Philippines, the DOH established the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program in 1993 in response to this growing health concern. Surveillance data, however, show that the number of cases have continued to increase since 2000. An average of 220 cases per day were reported between 2011 and 2015, while the average cost of treatment per case is USD409.3

Management involves supportive care. Effective therapies to diminish viral load or minimize its effects have not been developed. Vector control offers the most effective means of prevention but is difficult to implement and maintain. A vaccine has been recommended and approved for use in the Philippines in 2015. Cost-effectiveness is still being monitored.

The lack of specific treatment and the potentially severe consequences fuels the search for alternative therapies. Herbal medicine has been particularly popular with the advent of naturopathy. The use of herbs, however, is not a new phenomenon. The rich cultural heritage of the Philippines is a rich resource of indigenous health knowledge. Traditional healing practices are, in fact, still observed in the country, especially in the remote areas where access to formal health care services is non-existent or difficult at best.

Following annual dengue outbreaks, the intake of a leaf decoction of Euphorbia hirta (garden spurge; locally known as “tawa-tawa”) for dengue has been gaining popularity. De Guzman et al documented the use of E hirta for dengue among three indigenous groups in Pangasinan: Anda Island, Mt. Colisao and Mt. Balungao. [J Intercult Ethnopharmacol 2016;5:239–43] Major uses agreement (MUA) were calculated to determine the importance of the use of E hirta for particular symptoms. Epistaxis, gum bleeding and skin blisters received the highest MUAs (>35 percent); fever, joint pains and headache received relatively high MUAs (>9 to ≤35 percent); while symptoms observed during the convalescence stage (skin rash, pruritus and diarrhea) received the lowest MUAs (≤9 percent). Fidelity levels (FLs) were also estimated to determine whether E hirta was the preferred medicine for the particular symptom. The investigators noted a concordance between MUAs and FLs, ie, high MUAs received high FLs, low MUAs received low FLs. The investigators concluded that E hirta was deemed important by the three indigenous communities as treatment for the symptoms, thus, further investigation is necessary to prove the efficacy and safety of E hirta for dengue fever.

Other studies have been conducted to support the potential benefit of E hirta for dengue patients. Arollado et al, observed a significant increase in platelet counts (p=0.04) after in vitro administration of E hirta to anagrelide-induced thrombocytopenic Sprague-Dawley rats. Paredes et al, also observed less precipitous decrease in platelet levels during the initial stage of the disease and rapid increase in platelet counts during the convalescence stage in a small cohort of confirmed dengue patients who took E hirta preparations during the course of their illness. Mir et al had similar observations in their study among confirmed dengue cases in Lahore, Pakistan. Abd Kadir et al reviewed other medicinal plants that are thought to be beneficial for the treatment of dengue throughout Asia.

As a growing public health problem, it is imperative to find a cure for dengue. While traditional medicine offers a myriad of treatment alternatives, not only for dengue, but also for other diseases that contemporary medicine has not discovered a cure, there is still a need to subject these alternatives to rigorous study to ensure that they are safe and cost-effective. Primum non nocere.

Tawa-tawa: Because Dengue is No Laughing Matter

By Teresa Martinez

Who would have thought that a weed most people would discard can have actual medicinal value? Tawa-tawa is becoming very popular nowadays as a possible treatment for dengue fever. That is regardless of the fact that the medical industry has not yet given any confirmation that supports such a claim.

The Threat

Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes within the genus Aedes, principally A. aegypti. It used to be a real threat only during the rainy days where there is more tendency to have stagnant water pooling somewhere unnoticed. Standing water, whether clean or not, is a common breeding ground for many insects. Today however, it can strike at any time.

Mosquitoes need just a small pool of water to lay their eggs in. While humans are the primary host of the virus, mosquitoes transmit it by biting an infected person and subsequently biting another. The virus has no detrimental effect on the mosquito itself that is infected for life. For humans who are bitten by infected mosquitoes, the result can be deadly. Usual symptoms include sudden-onset fever, headache, measles-like rash, muscle and joint pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Shock due to blood pressure drop and bleeding due to rapid decrease in platelet count are some of the warning signs of severe dengue.

The Cure

There is no known vaccine that can prevent dengue and this is one disease where prevention holds the key. The main thing to do is to remove all possible breeding places of these mosquitoes in our environment. Once afflicted by dengue, proper fluid maintenance in the body becomes the main goal in managing the disease. Patients who do not exhibit warning sings of severe dengue can be allowed to manage dengue at home primarily through oral rehydration. There is no other way but to wait for the viral infection to resolve.

For patients who do exhibit warning signs, managing the disease in the hospital will be necessary. During the course of the course of the disease, doctors will be intently monitoring the hematocrit level and platelet count. Unabated decrease in platelet count will result to blood and platelet transfusion which most medical practitioners of today are not quick to recommend because of the accompanying risks especially for improperly screened blood.

The Tawa-tawa Tea

Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) is an hairy herb that is abundantly found in open grasslands although it can be found as well in pathways and roadsides looking like stray grass. Its effectiveness in battling dengue specifically in its potency to elevate platelet count after drinking its tea form in 24 hours continues to be the subject of research and investigation. One important point established by the Department of Health is that tawa-tawa does not contain any toxic substance and go as far as to say that it can be taken along side with other oral hydration preparations for fluid replacement.

The steps for preparing the Tawa-tawa tea is as follows:

1. Wash the tawa-tawa thoroughly.
2. Boil tawa-tawa in clean, drinkable water for about a minute.
3. Let it cool and the tawa-tawa is ready to drink.

Tawa-tawa tea is recommended to be given to the dengue patient in an hourly interval or as tolerated for 24 hours. The taste may not be acceptable especially for children so some suggest the addition of a small amount of sugar. Severe dengue patients may still require hospitalization to check for complications that may have been brought upon by the disease.

My Say

I have always been very cautious especially when it comes to the health of my children. When my two young children tested positive for dengue and showed warning signs that their condition cannot be managed efficiently at home, I readily acceded to the doctor’s decision to have them admitted to the hospital. My daughter was vomiting all her food intake even though she still had a good platelet count at 212 while my son’s platelet count was at a dangerous level of 87.

Their platelet counts continued to decrease even while at the hospital,with my son reaching the lowest at 36 on the third day. My daughter’s platelet count was still considered safe at 152 but was continuously decreasing just the same. This was the time I decided to try the tawa-tawa tea, and lo and behold my son’s platelet count increased to 59 the next day and 111 the day after. My daughter’s platelet count increased as well but a lot more slowly. I can safely say that this is because my son drank as much tawa-tawa tea as he could tolerate while my daughter only took very little. That made me, a mother who rarely took chances on alternative medicine when it comes to my children, a believer in the power of tawa-tawa.

How To: Prepare, Make Tawa-tawa Tea to Treat Dengue

(Cool Buster)

In our continuing campaign to help in the fight againt dengue, we would like to present relevant information and audio-visual materials about the deadly virus.

GMA-7's news program “24 Oras” had a report on the Tawa-tawa herbal plant, known scientifically as Euphorbia Hirta (video available below).

We are also sharing to our readers an article from Dr. Willie T. Ong entitled “Treatment for Dengue” which was published on The Philippine STAR.

As you are probably aware of, there is no specific drug to kill the dengue virus. However, doctors can employ various supportive measures to strengthen the body so that it can recover from the disease.

Here's how we do it:

1. Patients are encouraged to drink lots of water to keep the body's water at an optimum level. If needed, doctors give dextrose fluid to prevent dehydration.

2. Monitoring of blood count. Doctors check the hematocrit and platelet count regularly to see if there is a need to transfuse blood components.

3. Consider giving medicines to prevent ulcer, since bleeding is a possibility.

4. Encourage the patient to eat regularly, specifically soft, easily digestible foods. Patients are advised to avoid eating dark colored foods, because we need to monitor the stool's color. (Black stools means blood for doctors.)

5. Tawa Tawa plant might help.

In the Philippines, many patients are using Tawa Tawa plants to treat dengue. The Department of Health is still studying the effectiveness of this plant, and has raised concern over the possibility of toxicity with over dosage. However, doctors would usually allow patients to drink it if you ask their permission first.

Here's how to prepare Tawa Tawa:

(1) Take 5 whole Tawa Tawa plants;

(2) Cut off the roots, then wash and clean;

(3) Boil Tawa Tawa in a pot of clean water;

(4) Pour the liquid and then let cool;

(5) Sip 1 glass 3 to 4 times a day.

But remember, always consult your doctor first before undergoing any treatment. Our infectious disease specialists are still your best bet to get cured from dengue. Take care!

Please NOTE that the Department of Health (DOH) says tawa-tawa is “not enough for critical dengue patients, and urges oral rehydration therapy.”

It must also be noted that “there is a large difference between cases of dengue without hemorrhagic fever and those with, along with the 4 serotypes, recommended treatment may vary depending on the specific presentation of dengue.”

Scientific studies and tests, reports say, are being conducted to find out the health and medicinal benefits of Tawa Tawa.

NO LAUGHING MATTER / DOH warns vs misuse of Tawa-tawa herb vs dengue

By Jet Villa (

MANILA, Philippines – As dengue cases are seen to spike even more this rainy season, the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday cautioned the public against misusing the Tawa-tawa or Euphorbia hirta herbal plant as a cure for the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

At the same time, health authorities warned people against using the antibiotic doxycyclin indiscriminately as a preventive measure against another deadly disease, Leptospirosis.

People wading in floods contaminated with the urine of rats could get the disease, which starts with simple flu-like symptoms, and an increasing number of people have been reported to be taking doxycycline to prevent lepto after they have waded in floods.

On Tawa-tawa, DOH Secretary Enrique Ona said they neither endorse nor prohibit use of the herb, which is gaining popularity in both rural and urban areas. “We do not endorse Tawa-tawa, but at the same time we are not prohibiting it,” said Ona.

He said, “we cannot promote Tawa-tawa because if we do that, we must have proof that it is really medically effective and, at the same time, safe and there must be a study on that before we can endorse it.”

The Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Council for Health Research and Development began in 2012 a study on the active ingredients of Tawa-tawa after learning more people were using it as a cure to dengue.

The plant reportedly contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to increase blood platelets, which plunge as dengue’s infection peaks, but sources said most of the positive spin on Tawa-tawa was anecdotal.

In cautioning against taking doxycycline preventively, Ona said that while taking this prophylaxis could prevent one from developing leptospirosis, it should be supervised by a healthcare professional.

He added: “We can expect leptospirosis cases to increase because of the floodings ..... It is better if they can inform a health worker that they have been in floods for some time. In preventive measures like this, the health workers should be informed.”

DOH Memorandum No. 2009-0250 prohibits the administration of doxycycline to pregnant and lactating women and children below 8 years old.

Tawa-Tawa: A Natural Remedy for Dengue

By Glady Reyes

The increase in dengue cases is already very alarming. According to the Department of Health dengue cases rose by 88.8% to 62,503 in the first eight months for this year from 33,102 in the same period last year. Western Visayas has the biggest number of dengue cases recorded with 10,054 cases. There are already 465 persons who died from dengue this year, compared to 350 deaths in 2009.

Dengue has been a perennial problem in the Philippines every time the rainy days arrive. Dengue or hemorrhagic fever is transmitted to humans through the mosquito Aeges aegypti which thrives in stagnant water. There’s no cure for dengue, you can only treat the symptoms.

In the absence of a clinically recognized cure for dengue, a lot of Filipinos have discovered the effectiveness of Tawa-Tawa plant (Euphorbia hirta) in increasing platelet counts in dengue patients. Although there’s no study yet to prove its efficacy, more and more dengue patients who survived the deadly disease by taking Tawa-Tawa tea can testify to its efficacy

Finding Tawa-Tawa is not hard since it grows almost anywhere in the Philippines. Dr. Willie T. Ong recommends the following steps on how to prepare the Tawa-Tawa tea:

1. Take 5 whole Tawa Tawa plants;
2. Cut off the roots, then wash and clean;
3. Boil Tawa Tawa in a pot of clean water;
4. Pour the liquid and then let cool;
5. Sip 1 glass 3 to 4 times a day.

Still, prevention is better than cure so clean your surroundings and get rid of containers where the Aeges egypti mosquito may thrive. Also use mosquito repellant lotion to help keep you protected.

Asthma weed or Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) Tea


Euphorbia hirta is a common medicinal plant which is used in India, Philippines, Australia, Mexico and some parts of Africa for treatment of diseases. The whole plant of herb is used to prepare a decoction or tea. This preparation is useful in treatment of various diseases.

This tea has anxiolytic, analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory activities.

Latin name: Euphorbia hirta, other scientific names Euphorbia pilulifera, Euphorbia capitata, and Chamaesyce hirta
Common name: Asthma plant, Hairy spurge, Garden spurge, Dudhi, Tawa-tawa, Asthma weed
Recipe of of Tawa-tawa tea
Euphorbia hirta plant (15-30 gm), Water (1000 ml)
Take Fresh whole plants of Euphorbia hirta.
Soak fresh plants in water for 2 minutes and then rinse with tap water to clean soil and dirt.
Add in boiling water and cook for ten minutes.
Leave and let it stand for 20 minutes. Filter using a strainer.
Dosage of euphorbia tea
Drink in small amounts throughout the day.
Take this decoction for one week.
Health benefits of euphorbia tea
• Asthma, respiratory problems, respiratory tract inflammation
• Lung problems
• Gastrointestinal disorders, Diarrhoea
• Diabetes, Dengue fever
• Can be used in form of oral rinse to treat mouth blisters or oral thrush
Consume this tea in moderate amounts only for one week.

Health Benefit of Asthma-plant (Euphorbia hirta)

(brandon, moffatloss)

Asthma-plant (Euphorbia hirta) has been used traditionally in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, for healing dengue fever.

The common name for Euphoria Hirta is Snakeweed. If you are a mom, you should consume Euphoria Hirta to increase flow of milk for your baby.

Other women related disorders and respiratory tract disorders are relieved with this plant. In fact you can use Euphoria Hirta whole plant as a medicinal supplement.

Health Benefits of Euphorbia Hirta

But you can uses it to treat eye infections. By using the flowers of the plant, a decoction could be made that soothed eye infections and reduced the signs of conjunctivitis.

Anti-inflammatory: Euphorbia hirta neutralize toxins and reduce inflammation at the site of a snakebite.

Anti-parasitic: Euphorbia hirta can help to eliminate parasites and intestinal worms

Respiratory Health: euphorbia hirta can be ideal for soothing bronchial irritation, asthma, sore throats, and chronic coughing, as well as conditions like bronchitis.

Nutrient Composition

It comprises of triterpenes, phytosterols, alkanes, polyphenols, tannins and flavonoids.


Euphorbia Hirta should never be used during pregnancy. And Over dosage will lead to complications.


You can use Euphoria Hirta to heal other ailments like cough, coryza, respiratory ailments,effective in controlling venereal diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis.

Use it to heal jaundice, gonorrhea, pimples, tumors and digestive problems, asthma and bronchitis , or relieving worm infestations usually seen in children.

Medicinal uses of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta)

By Vijay Choudhary

Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta) complete detail – updated. Medicinal uses of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta). Description of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta). Classification of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta). Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal, asthma, bronchitis, fever, eyelid styes, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses etc. Local name of Euphorbia hirta is Asthma Weed- Bara dudhi, Duddhi. Euphorbia hirta is an annual hairy herb with many branches from the base to top, spreading upto 50 cm in height, reddish or purplish in color. Euphorbia hirta is very effective in reducing the sperm mobility and density.


Euphorbia hirta is an annual hairy herb with many branches from the base to top, spreading upto 50 cm in height, reddish or purplish in color. Stems are rounded, solid and hairy with abundant milk-sap. Leaves are opposite, elliptic – oblong to oblong- lanceolate, acute or sub-acute, dark green above, pale beneath, 1- 3 cm long, blotched with purple in the middle, and toothed at the edge. Leaves occur in opposite pairs on the stem.

The flowers are unisexual and found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. Flowers are purplish to greenish in color, dense, axillary, short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes, about 1 mm in length.

Capsules are broadly ovoid, hairy, three-angled, about 1.5 millimeters long. The fruits are yellow, three- celled, hairy, keeled capsules. Seed very small, reddish-brown, initially smooth, later slightly transversely wrinkled. Flowering and fruiting throughout the year. Classification Common Name – Asthma Weed

Local Name – Bara dudhi, Duddhi

Botanical Name – Euphorbia hirta

Kingdom – Plantae

Subkingdom – Viridiplantae

Division – Tracheophyta

Class – Magnoliopsida

Order – Malpiqhiales

Genus – Euphorbia Family – Euphorbiaceae


Euphorbia hirta found in the Philippines, Australia, South America and other parts of Asia. Euphorbia hirta widely found in most parts of India.


Euphorbia hirta has many medicinal properties like Hypotensive, anticancer, tonic, exhibits anxiolytic, analgesic, antimalarial, antiasthmatic, antidiarrheal, antioxidant, antiamoebic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antiamoebic, antispasmodic etc.

Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal, asthma, bronchitis, fever, eyelid styes, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses etc.

Decoction of dry herbs is used for skin diseases. Decoction of fresh herbs is used as gargle for the treatment of thrush. Root decoction is used for nursing mothers deficient in milk and in the treatment of snake bites, vomiting, chronic diarrheas and fevers.

Euphorbia hirta is very effective in reducing the sperm mobility and density. Consuming it regularly results in infertility. You need to discontinue consuming it for about 12 days so that you become fertile again.

In traditional Indian medicinal systems Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment asthma.

Healing Wonders of Tawa-Tawa (Snake Weed Plant)

(tjpezlo, steemit)
Tawa-Tawa- Snake Weed Herbal Medicine
Scientific name: Euphorbia hirta Linn
Common name: Tawa-tawa, Boto-botones, Gatas-gatas (Tagalog); Asthma plant

The Snake weed plant commonly grows in the back yard in most places in the Philippines

All parts of the plant are rich in vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial to our health

It contains gallic acid, quercetin, triacontane, cetyl alcohol, phytosterol, phytosterolin, jambulol, melissic, gayun din ang palmitic, oleic, at linoleic acid It also has euphorbianin, leucocyanidol, camphol, quercitrin at quercitrol.

Its leaf when dried could be a good source of protein, fat, crude fiber, at carbohydrate. Mayroon pa itong bitamina gaya ng ascorbic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, at niacin

Its sap, leaf and roots could be used to cure different medical conditions.

Tawa-tawa has the following medical benefits:

1. Asthma. The resin/sap of tawa-tawa is often mixed with drinks to relieve the symptoms of asthma. You can also dry its leaves and use as cigarettes.

2. Dengue. Known for increasing platelet production, tawa-tawa is also effective for treating symptoms caused by the dengue. The whole plant is boiled as tea for this treatment.

3. Diarrhea. The continuous diarrhea can be treated with the help of drinking decoction of the plant.

4. Herpes. The sap of tawa-tawa when applied directly is also effective for removing skin herpes. Its highly effective in treating skin deseases.

5. Sty in the eye. It is also said that the effective resin of tawa-tawa for treatment of sty in the eye(kuliti). You can put resin/sap drops in the affected eye for this treatment.

6. Fever. The decoction of the root will help in the reduction of simple fever.

7. Boils. The crushed leaves may be applied to the skin affected by the boil.

8. Nursing mothers. Also empowering milk nursing mothers regularly drinking the herbal decoction of tawa-tawa

9. Wounds. In can hasten the wound to close up with the help of its crushed leaves applied on it.

10. High blood pressure. It also lowers blood pressure by drinking the decoction of fresh leaves.

The tawa-tawa is herb that is also known as snake weed, with the scientific name Euphorbia hirta, growing on the lawn, paths, rice fields and even on the side of the road. This native plant with hairy leaves is considered by most Filipinos legendary for treating dengue cases.

Alternative treatments for dengue fever

By Tan Shiow Chin

The best treatment for this infectious disease with no medical cure might lie in nature.

DENGUE fever is a problem that just does not seem to want to go away in Malaysia. And even worse, it seems to be escalating.

The latest report from the Health Ministry states that as of March 22, both the number of cases and deaths nationwide for the year have increased by 314% compared to the same period last year.

The number of dengue cases in the latest report totalled 23,633, while the number of deaths was 58.

The problem is not just limited to Malaysia, although we are considered an endemic dengue hotspot.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there may be 50-100 million dengue infections globally every year, with two-fifths of the world population, or 2.5 billion people, at risk of this mosquito-borne infectious disease.

While being infected with dengue is an unpleasant experience – it is also known as breakbone fever – with typical symptoms being fever, headache, rashes, and muscle and joint pains, a healthy person’s immune system usually has no problems fighting the virus off.

The problem comes when dengue haemorrhagic fever develops.

This extreme form of the illness causes severe bleeding due to “leaky” blood vessels and delay in blood-clotting caused by low levels of platelets, which are essential in forming blood clots.

According to the WHO, an average of about 2.5% of those who develop dengue haemorrhagic fever die.

This number can exceed 20% in cases with no proper treatment, while the risk of death in those who receive the proper supportive treatment is less than 1%.

There is no cure for dengue, nor is there any vaccine for it, although there are several research teams currently working on one.

The main method of controlling this disease is via prevention; for example, ensuring that there is no stagnant water or any container where water can pool in around, fogging, using mosquito nets and repellent, and covering up or staying indoors at dawn and dusk when the Aedes mosquitoes are most active.

Medical management of dengue is purely supportive, with maintenance of the body’s fluid balance being the key objective, whether via oral rehydration therapy, intravenous fluid replacement, or in the worst-case scenario, blood transfusion.

With no definitive treatment from modern medicine available, it is not surprising that many have turned to alternative therapies for relief.

Papaya leaf juice

This is probably the most well-known alternative treatment for dengue.

Several small scientific studies have been carried out in dengue-endemic countries like India and Malaysia, looking into the efficacy of this herbal remedy.

While the results cannot be said to be definitive, due to their small study size, they are certainly promising.

The main effect of this juice lies in raising the level of platelets in dengue patients – a critical aspect of this viral infection.

One study, conducted by the Institute for Medical Research and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang, Selangor, reported that patients given papaya leaf juice showed a significant rise in their platelet levels 40 hours after first receiving the juice, compared to patients in the control group who were only on standard supportive therapy.

The open-label randomised controlled trial, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine last year, had a total of 228 participants recruited from the hospital’s dengue ward, divided almost equally between the control group and the juice group.

The patients in the juice group took the pure fresh juice extracted from 50gm of clean papaya leaves of the sekaki variety once daily for three consecutive days.

Pharmacist and holistic medicine practitioner Datuk Dr Rajen M adds that a blend of raw young papaya and papaya leaves made into a juice, taken two to three times a day, is one of the alternative therapies for dengue in Ayurvedic medicine.

He notes that consuming papaya in general is safe, and taking it does not contradict medical advice.


This hairy herb is commonly used in the Philippines as an alternative treatment for dengue fever.

Also known as gatas-gatas or by its scientific name Euphorbia hirta, it is said to increase the platelet levels in dengue patients.

A 2012 animal study conducted by pharmacy students from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, showed that a decoction of tawa-tawa did indeed increase platelet levels and decrease bleeding time in rats with induced thrombocytopenia (i.e. an abnormally low platelet level).

The Philippine’s Department of Science and Technology is currently researching the effect of this plant on dengue fever, and have stated their concern over possible toxicity resulting from overdosing on tawa-tawa.

Meanwhile, Philippine Star columnist Dr Willie T Ong said in a 2009 article that Filipino doctors in general allow dengue patients to take tawa-tawa as long as they clear it with them first.

He also explained how to prepare the herb: “Take five whole tawa-tawa plants. Cut off the roots, then wash and clean.

“Boil tawa-tawa in a pot of clean water. Pour the liquid and then let cool. Sip one glass three to four times a day.”

Traditional Chinese medicine

Inti International University Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine director and head of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) programme Dr Yong Kian Fui says that there is no cure for dengue fever in TCM either, and treatment is usually supportive based on the stage of the disease.

The acupuncturist and Chinese physician notes that because of the vague symptoms of dengue fever, most people are only diagnosed with the disease about four days after their fever starts.

TCM therapy at that stage consists of a herbal concoction based on the formulation called qin wen bai tu san.

“This helps to clear the plaque and detox the body,” he says.

Patients have to take one dose daily for three days. If their platelet levels are still low by the end of that period, Dr Yong says they would be referred to the hospital for further management.

He adds that he personally also prescribes a bitter gourd and meat soup, which should be double-boiled for two hours.

While the meat can be from any animal, including fish, it is crucial that the seeds in the bitter gourd must be included in the soup.

“According to TCM theory, bitter gourd is used to clear ‘fire’ and to detox the body.

“The meat neutralises the bitter gourd, so that it doesn’t become too ‘cooling’.”

Ayuverdic medicine

Dr Rajen explains that there are four ways to treat dengue patients according to Ayuverdic medicine.

Two methods are targeted at boosting the patient’s blood production and providing an antiviral effect: the papaya fruit and leaf juice mix mentioned earlier, and juice made from pegaga leaves, also known as India pennywort or Centella asiatica.

According to Dr Rajen, one dose of the pegaga juice is the amount obtained from juicing one handful of leaves.

The other two treatments are mainly applied for their general antiviral properties.

One is cow or goat colostrum, which can be drunk as often as desired. Colostrum is the first secretion from the animal’s mammary glands before the milk comes out.

The other is turmeric, which can be added to the patient’s food or milk.

Best health benefits of euphorbia hirta

By Michael Brandon

Euphorbia hirta is a strange, hairy herbaceous herb that is often found growing on the roadsides in tropical parts of the global. Considered, this herb has now become a pantropical species, which makes it very easy for its fame to spread. It is primarily used as a medicinal aromatic plant due to its unique chemical structure and strong effects on the body.

All parts of the plant are effective in their own method, and are used for specific ailments. The leaves, flowers, and sap from this herbaceous herbal, which is also commonly called an “asthma weed”, are all used in different methods and in different forms, depending on the ailment at hand. Let’s take a slightly closer look at the numerous health benefits of Euphorbia hirta.

Here are good health benefits of euphorbia hirta.

1-Skin Health

The salves made from Euphorbia hirta can be applied directly to the membrane on boils, wounds, rashes, burns, and other marks. This solution can speed the healing method by stimulating blood flow to the skin, stimulate the regrowth of new cells, and even contribute its antioxidant volume to promoting healthier looking skin. It can eliminate signs of aging and decrease the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage.

2-Gastrointestinal Issues

Aside from removing parasites and intestinal worms, Euphorbia hirta can also soothe the stomach system and eliminate symptoms of diarrhea or dysentery. By comforting the gut walls, Euphorbia hirta can restore your bowel actions to a more normal level and stop any additional pain or discomfort.

3-Immune System

Euphorbia hirta can really impact the immune system in a number of ways, but one of the popular old-style uses of the herb was to treat eye infections. By using the flowers of the herb, a decoction could be made that soothed eye contagions and reduced the signs of conjunctivitis. This cure is still in used today.

6-Respiratory Health

When it comes to breathing conditions, euphorbia hirta can be a very effective remedy. The anti-inflammatory nature of the aromatic plant makes it ideal for soothing respiratory irritation, asthma, sore throats, and chronic coughing, as well as state of affairs like bronchitis.

7-Sexual Health

Euphorbia hirta has a number of special effects when it comes to sexual health, but its antiviral and sterile qualities make it very effective in treating venereal diseases and urinary tract infections. This is a outdated use and also a modern one.

What we can do to fight dengue

By Vijay Choudhary

Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta) complete detail – updated. Medicinal uses of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta). Description of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta). Classification of Asthma Weed (Euphorbia hirta).

Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal, asthma, bronchitis, fever, eyelid styes, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses etc.

Local name of Euphorbia hirta is Asthma Weed- Bara dudhi, Duddhi. Euphorbia hirta is an annual hairy herb with many branches from the base to top, spreading upto 50 cm in height, reddish or purplish in color. Euphorbia hirta is very effective in reducing the sperm mobility and density.


Euphorbia hirta is an annual hairy herb with many branches from the base to top, spreading upto 50 cm in height, reddish or purplish in color. Stems are rounded, solid and hairy with abundant milk-sap. Leaves are opposite, elliptic – oblong to oblong- lanceolate, acute or sub-acute, dark green above, pale beneath, 1- 3 cm long, blotched with purple in the middle, and toothed at the edge. Leaves occur in opposite pairs on the stem.

The flowers are unisexual and found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. Flowers are purplish to greenish in color, dense, axillary, short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes, about 1 mm in length.

Capsules are broadly ovoid, hairy, three-angled, about 1.5 millimeters long. The fruits are yellow, three- celled, hairy, keeled capsules. Seed very small, reddish-brown, initially smooth, later slightly transversely wrinkled. Flowering and fruiting throughout the year.


Common Name – Asthma Weed

Local Name – Bara dudhi, Duddhi

Botanical Name – Euphorbia hirta

Kingdom – Plantae

Subkingdom – Viridiplantae

Division – Tracheophyta

Class – Magnoliopsida

Order – Malpiqhiales

Genus – Euphorbia Family – Euphorbiaceae


Euphorbia hirta found in the Philippines, Australia, South America and other parts of Asia. Euphorbia hirta widely found in most parts of India.


Euphorbia hirta has many medicinal properties like Hypotensive, anticancer, tonic, exhibits anxiolytic, analgesic, antimalarial, antiasthmatic, antidiarrheal, antioxidant, antiamoebic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antiamoebic, antispasmodic etc.

Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal, asthma, bronchitis, fever, eyelid styes, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses etc.

Decoction of dry herbs is used for skin diseases. Decoction of fresh herbs is used as gargle for the treatment of thrush. Root decoction is used for nursing mothers deficient in milk and in the treatment of snake bites, vomiting, chronic diarrheas and fevers.

Euphorbia hirta is very effective in reducing the sperm mobility and density. Consuming it regularly results in infertility. You need to discontinue consuming it for about 12 days so that you become fertile again.

In traditional Indian medicinal systems Euphorbia hirta is used in the treatment asthma.

An introduction to the healing properties of plants

(PU Chien)

NATURE has provided many medicinal plants, some of which can be included in the home garden. In fact there may already be plants growing in your garden with healing properties but you just do not realise it. Have you ever noticed how your cat or dog instinctively knows that certain plants, which we may consider weeds, can actually heal their illnesses?

Herbs are used in many cultures the world over. In Europe, apothecaries used herbal ingredients in medicines. Traditional Chinese medicines have used herbal ingredients for thousands of years. They include the use of herbs for the treatment of broken bones, which has proven to be more effective and speedy compared to conventional western medical treatment.

Today even modern western medicine tends to use active ingredients from plants. Phytochemicals can be synthesised and compounded or transformed to make pharmaceuticals. An example is digoxin from digitalis plants for treating cardiac disease and as an anti-arrhythmic agent.

Let us examine some common medicinal or herbal plants and their uses.

Aloe vera – this a succulent but hardy plant that can tolerate neglect. Though a slow grower, it can eventually reach two feet in height. It is valuable for the treatment of burns and scrapes, as well as insect bites. The sap is not only used for lotions and cosmetics but also for refreshing drinks.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) – the leaves are used to lower cholesterol and to treat kidney and urinary tract ailments.

Arnica (Arnica Montana) – used as an anti-inflammatory and in osteoarthritis treatment.

Asthma weed (Euphorbia hirta) – in Asia it is used to treat bronchic asthma and laryngeal spasms. In the Philippines it is also used in dengue fever treatment.

Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus) – Chinese medicine uses this to strengthen the immune system from hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.

Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) – an agent for reducing the blood glucose level.

Bitter orange (Citrus x aurantium) – the Chinese and Amazonian natives use this for nausea, indigestion and constipation.

Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) – used to treat urinary tract ailments and as an antioxidant.

Chilli (Capsicum annum) – known locally as chilli padi, it can be used for the treatment of cold, fever, diarrhoea and to relieve pain.

Chilli (Capsicum frutescens) – its active ingredient called capsaicin is used in commercial pain relief ointments in western medicine. The low incidences of heart attacks among Thais is said to be related to capsaicin’s fibrinolytic action (dissolving blood clots).

Celery (Apium graveolens) – this vegetable works as a diuretic.

Cinchona (Quina) – the bark of this group of trees contains alkaloids that can be used to treat malaria.

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) – it is used for stomach upset and as an expectorant.

Coffee senna (Cassia occidentalis) – this has many roles including as an internal and external anti-microbial treatment, for liver disorders, intestinal worms and parasites and as an immune system stimulant.

Evening primrose (Oenothera spp) – the oil has been used since 1930 for eczema, as an anti-inflammatory as well as hormonal treatment in women.

Garlic (Allium sativum) – widely used as an antibiotic and for cardiovascular disease.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – used to treat nausea.

Gingko (Gingko biloba) – the leaf extract is used for asthma, bronchitis, fatigue and tinnitus treatment.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius) – this has been used to boost health for thousands of years in Asia.

Grape (Vitis vinifera) – the leaves and fruit have been used medicinally since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Guava (Psidium guajava) – studies have been conducted on its properties for the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments such as acute infectious diarrhoea.

Lavender (L angustifolia) – traditionally used as an antiseptic and to aid mental health.

Lemon (Citrus x limon) – has a long history in Chinese and Indian cultural treatments for colds and coughs as well as sore throats.

Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) – over 2,000 years of history in food and medicine.

Neem (Azadirachta indica) – used for de-worming, malaria, rheumatism and skin infections. Known in Indian villages as the dispensary tree.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) – the plant source of morphine for pain relief, particularly for terminally ill patients.

Papaya (Carica papaya) – used for the treatment of wounds.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – used to relieve nausea, indigestion and common colds.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and related species – 400 years history in cold and flu cures.

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) – used medicinally as an essential oil to improve cognitive performance and mood improvement.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – this oil is used by Aborigines in Australia as an antibacterial or anti-fungus agent. Also used to treat pimples and insect bites.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – known as a treatment for bronchitis and coughs as well as an anti-spasmodic expectorant.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – a yellow-coloured spice for Indian curries, which has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to aid digestion and liver function, to relieve arthritis pain and as a menstruation regulator.

White willow (Salix alba) – this plant is the source of salicylic acid, a chemical related to aspirin.

Health benefits that herbal remedies offer

By Farahani Mukisa

From tree roots to plant leaves, it is common to find medicinal concoctions made out of these products by traditional herbalists. Many, they say are used to treat and cure illnesses such as cough, diabetes and hypertension among others. Increasingly, a large proportion of the population also uses these herbal medicines, with a recent study by the World Health Organisation estimating that about 80 per cent of people in the developing world still use herbal medicine to treat various ailments.

From tree roots to plant leaves, it is common to find medicinal concoctions made out of these products by traditional herbalists. Many, they say are used to treat and cure illnesses such as cough, diabetes and hypertension among others.

Increasingly, a large proportion of the population also uses these herbal medicines, with a recent study by the World Health Organisation estimating that about 80 per cent of people in the developing world still use herbal medicine to treat various ailments.

According to Mr Kizito Mulwana of SEFA Organics which specialises in extracting herbal medicine from wild plants, the use of medicinal plants in Uganda, like in most developing countries has been wide spread for centuries.

“Many people are continuously flooding our medical centres, after they have tried and failed with the conventional hospitals,” he claims. Mr Mulwana said herbal medicines extracted from a wide range of green plants and tree roots cure a wide range of diseases such as asthma, epilepsy and pneumonia.

According to Mr Muhammad Kasirye, director at Hannah Islamic medical centre, a single plant concoction can treat more than one condition.

“Therefore it is possible for us now to establish standard herbal formulae for the given conditions,” he says.The medicinal plants can be found in various places especially forests which have various plant and tree varieties.

Here are just a few examples and what they do Lemongrass or Chai Ssubi Lemongrass can be extracted for its oil and it can be used to treat digestive tract spasms, stomach ache, high blood pressure, convulsions and relieve pain among others. In food and beverages, it can be used as a flavouring ingredient

Euphorbia hirta This hairy herb that is grown in open grasslands, roadsides and pathways, is commonly known as asthma-weed (kasandasanda) and it is used for treating diseases such as bronchitis, cough, asthma, dysentery and respiratory tract inflammations.

Elymus repens or couch grass It is largely used in treating cough, bronchitis and infections.

Taraxacum officinale Ugandensis It grows mostly in tropical areas and is locally called abaki or mukuzanumme. It is said to be effective in treating cough, urinary infection and memory loss.

Ocimum tenuiflorum/Omujaaja This is a common plant grown in home gardens and used as flavouring for tea. It is said to have several medicinal benefits including treating malaria, ring worms, dog bites and insect bites.

Artemisia annua In ancient times, it was used by chinese herbalists to treat fevers and headaches. A sweetly aromatic herb with small, yellow flower heads, sweet wormwood contains the chemical artemisinin and its aerial parts are used by scientists as an agent for making anti-malarial drugs.

Disclaimer: While these herbal plants may have medicinal benefits, we don’t take responsibility for those who rely on them as their main source of medicine.

Common Herbs which can cure Dengue


India is the land of Ayurveda, which is perhaps the most widely used alternative medicine system in the world today. Ayurveda originated thousands of years ago, and literally means the science of life. It uses herbs and herbal products for treatment and is almost free of side-effects.

Mosquitoes existed even before humans arrived on the planet. Mosquitoes have accounted for a lot of human casualties, including Alexander the great, who died of Malaria. Dengue casualties still continue all over India. Delhi has recently registered 1259 cases of Dengue, with 5 reported deaths.

In Focus

A lot of research has been done on Ayurveda and its uses for curing diseases like Malaria and Dengue. The Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS) , which falls under Ayush, Department of Indian System of Medicine, have developed a drug "Ayush 64". The drug has been clinically proven to be effective against Malaria and other vector borne diseases like Dengue.

Here are a few common herbs which can effectively cure Dengue. You may find a few of them growing in a park in your locality.

• Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta); Common name: Asthma weed.

Tawa-tawa is this herb's name in the Philippines; in local Hindi it is called `Dudhi'. You can easily find this herb growing as a weed in a park or green area. Making a tea out of four fresh plants, minus the roots will surely help in combating symptoms of Dengue. This herb has been used by the Pilipino people for centuries as a remedy against Dengue fever.

• Papaya leaves

A decoction made from fresh Papaya leaves is utterly crucial for increasing the blood platelet count. Dengue infection causes loss of platelets, which further results in the need of blood transfusion. Papaya leaves have natural enzymes like chymopapin and papain, which normalize platelet count and improve clotting of blood. It also cures liver damage caused by Dengue virus. Take young papaya leaves and wash them thoroughly. Then crush them with a mortar and pestle, and squeeze out the juice. Drink 10 ml of this juice twice daily without adding salt and sugar to it. Children between the age of 5 to 12 should be given half the dose.

• Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia)

Giloy is a creeper herb which maintains the metabolism rate of the human body. It strengthens the immune system and protects against infections. It is a sure shot remedy against fevers of all etiologies. A decoction made from its leaves and stems helps regains strength and vigor. Adding a few leaves of Tulsi (Basil) will enhance its efficacy.

• Methi (fenugreek)

Methi leaves help in controlling pain during Dengue fever. It also helps stabilize blood pressure, which is crucial in Dengue induced fever. Soak fresh leaves in water and consume. It also helps in reducing fever.

Tawa-tawa - A herb to treat Dengue Fever


Euphorbia hirta/ Dugadhika/ Asthma Weed/ Bearing spurge/ Snakeweed

It is commonly called as Amman Pachirisi in Tamil, snake weed, asthma weed, Tawa-tawa, etc. In Philippines, this herb is known as tawa-tawa and used to treat Dengue fever. The herb grows widely in tropical countries like Australia and widely found in India. The herb is a native to India. It is often found as a weed growing in neglected areas around the house. Many people do not recognize it and do not know its medicinal benefits and hence weed it out. The herb is full of milky latex and hence one should be careful when plucking it. The specialty of the herb is that it bears flowers and fruits in all seasons and throughout the year and grows in damp regions. It grows heavily during rainy season. In the test tube, Euphorbia hirta has been shown to kill various types of pathogenic bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (albeit weakly), and Plasmodium (potently).

Tawa-tawa has been claimed to have a curative effects on dengue patients, based on personal testimonies, particularly in the Philippines. Despite its widespread use, there is no evidence to support this claim. Still Euphorbia Hirta has been known to keep the body temperature under control and helps to keep the body cool. It cures the thirsty feeling often faced by people and increases body resistance. It also keeps the body strong.
Tawa-tawa Tea from fewer:

In preparing tawa-tawa tea, 100 grams of the fresh whole plant (including roots) are washed and boiled in half a liter (500 ml) of water for 15 minutes. After cooling and paper-filtration, the decoction is taken by the patient at one glass every hour until the fever subsides.

Medical indications:

Traditionally this herb is used to treat female disorders, respiratory ailments (cough, coryza, bronchitis, and asthma), worm infestations in children, dysentery, jaundice, pimples, gonorrhoea, digestive problems, and tumours.

Skin infections

If you have skin infections like rashes, warts, swellings or Molluscum, take the milky extract of the herb and apply it over the affected area. The skin gets cured very soon. If you have sore eye, apply the latex on the eyelids below the eyes. The problem gets cured soon. Applying around the wart results in its fall when applied for a week. If you have cracked lips, take the milky latex of the plant and apply it on the lips. The lips get cured very soon.


Some women are often faced with the problem of white discharge. For such people, take the leaves of the herb, grind it till it becomes a paste and drink it along with butter milk or a cup of milk. The problem gets cured.

Euphorbia Hirta or Snake Weed for Dengue

The herb has the potential to cure dengue. But it has not been recognized officially as a medicine to cure dengue. It has been found that medicines are prepared using the extract of the herb and sold as medicines for curing dengue. Though relying on this herb alone is not recommended, it is better to consume this herb along with your regular medicines. This hastens your healing process.

Procedures in making Tawa-tawa tea for Dengue treatment:
• Take 5 to 6 full whole Tawa-Tawa plant
• Cut of the roots
• Wash thoroughly
• Fill a boiling pot with 1 liiter of clear water
• Boil the Tawa-Tawa for 1 (one) minute in slow rolling boil
• Cool
• Let the Dengue victim drink only the Tawa-Tawa water for 24 hours
• Slip 1 to 1.5 glasses of Tawa-Tawa water for every hour

Tip: to lessen the bitter taste of Tawa-tawa, add a little brown sugar

Gastrointestinal disorders

The herb is widely used in treating a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders. If you are having Diarrhea, consuming a decoction of the herb cures you of the disease. Similarly consuming it kills the intestinal parasites.

Respiratory problems

Tawa tawa or amman pachirisi has the potential to cure various respiratory disorders like asthma and bronchitis.

Increased milk for lactating mothers

When decoction of the herb is consumed, mothers get benefited by increased production of milk.

Mouth infection

If your mouth gets infected with fungus resulting in whitish patches (thrush), gargle your mouth with decoction of the herb 2 times a day. You get recovered soon.

Family planning

The herb is very effective in reducing the sperm mobility and density. Consuming it regularly results in infertility. You need to discontinue consuming it for about 10 days so that you become fertile again.

Snake root for snake bites

Another name of the herb is snake root. The decoction of the herb when consumed kills the germs and expels the toxic agents from the body.

69. Which herbs to use in emergency for Snake bite?

Often, the juice of the crushed leaves is applied over the affected skin area to heal the infection in a fast manner.

• Pregnant women should not consume the herb, since it induces miscarriage.
• Men who want to bear babies should not consume it, since it makes you infertile.
• Do not consume more than the prescribed amount, since it induces vomiting

There are many other traditional uses of E. hirta in Ayurveda which serves as the basis for further studies. This review will definitely help the researchers to know its different properties.

The Miracle of the Snake Weed (Tawa-Tawa)

(The Healing Plants)

Snake weed (Scientific Name: Euphorbia hirta Linn) is a slender-stemmed, annual, hairy, much branched herb. The leaves are opposite, lanceolate, distichous, toothed along the margin. The flowers are very small, in dense round clusters, in the axils of the leaves. Seeds are tiny, reddish, oblong, in capsules, with a wrinkled surface. They are odorless and bitter. It abounds on grasslands and waste places.

The following are the medicinal uses of this plant:

• Used against asthma, cough, bowel complaints, stomach ache and dysentery.
• Used in the treatment of acute abdominal pains.
• Can also cure skin diseases, and infection of the mouth.
• It can stops local bleeding.
• Also an antidote in snakebite.
• A treatment for eye diseases.

The following are the instructions on how to use this plant as a medicine:

• The juice of the plant is used for acute abdominal pains.
• The decoction of the plant is good for skin diseases, especially the dry plant.
• The fresh plant, in decoction, is recommended as a gargle for treating infections in the mouth.
• The crushed leaves are applied on affected parts to stop local bleeding.
• The root is said to be good for snakebites.
• The milky juice is dropped in the eye in gene eye diseases.

In the following process, the whole plant is utilized after washing them thoroughly. The dose is approximately 12 to 20 grams of plant material for 1 liter of water in spoonful doses. Externally, it is used as the need arises.

10 Steps on How To Make the Tawa-tawa Tea Against Dengue Fever

By JR Lopez Gonzales

With most of us Filipinos still uninformed about the disease that yearly infects 51 million people worldwide, there is a dire need for everybody to be aware about the deadly dengue and how to cure it. According to the Department of Health, however, tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) is not proven to be dengue cure.

Here's how to make Tawa tawa tea for dengue treatment.

1. Take 5 to 6 pieces of Tawa-tawa plant.

2. Cut off and exclude the roots.

3. Wash the plant with running water.

4. Clean it and make sure there are no foreign objects or dirt.

5. Fill a boiling pot with clean water.

6. Boil the Tawa-tawa for 1 (one) minute in a medium fire.

7. Wait for it to cool down.

8. Place the strainer on top of the mouth of the pitcher and slowly pour the tea into the pitcher.

9. Drink nothing but the Tawa-tawa tea for the next 12 to 24 hours.

10. Sip 1 to 1.5 glasses of Tawa-tawa water every hour for best results.

Hopefully, the internal hemorrhaging will stop and the dengue fever will be cured after 12 hours to 24 hours of ingesting the traditional tea.

Health Benefits of Asthma Weed (Tawa-Tawa)

(Herb Fit)

Asthma weed

This hairy plant grows up to 2' in height; it has numerous small flowers clustered together with opposite oblong leaves, which have a toothed margin.

The young yellow fruit is a small hairy capsule with 3 reddish - brown wrinkled seeds.

There is milky latex in all parts of the plant.

The plant flowers and fruits all year long.

There are the following phytochemicals in asthma weed: sterols, alkaloids, tannins, quercetin, glycosides, triterpenoids, alkenes, phenolic acids, choline, shikimic acid.

This plant is used in traditional medicine for conjunctivitis, ulcerated cornea, bronchitic asthma, bronchitis, laryngeal spasm, upper respiratory catarrh and other respiratory ailments.

In modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery.

Asthma weed has antiviral and - bacterial properties.

Other uses include: In dysentery, worms, amoebic dysentery, syphilis and bowel complaints.

The plant has lactogenic properties; it is known for increasing milk flow in women, because of its milky latex, and is used for other female complaints.

Asthma weed has traditionally been used in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery. It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting.

A number of companies prepare different types of medicines from the plant Euphorbia hirta across the globe. Many chemists prescribe extract of Euphorbia hirta for the treatment of asthma and for the treatments of other ailments. Euphorbia leaf- tea is very common for asthma patients but it is recommended that direct use of this plant may not be safe every time.

There were studies and also evidences that asthma weed also known as Tawa-Tawa in the Philippines, had cured dengue. In a desperate call for medicine for dengue during the outbreak in the country, old folks thought of using the weed since it already had health benefits in the past for them and it worked. Until now people are using this weed in various diseases they encounter.

Davao students wins first prize for research on antidengue property of papaya and tawa-tawa


Student-researchers bagged first prize at the Gruppo Medica Award for their research on the anti-dengue property of papaya (Carica papaya) and tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) during the 8th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week celebration in Cebu City on 12-14 August 2014.

Topping 21 research entries from all regions in the Philippines, the research done by Pharmacy students at the San Pedro College in Davao City revealed that tea concoction from tawa-tawa can increase blood platelet counts in rabbits by 194% in just 24 hours.

Results on tests done on tea concoctions from papaya leaves only and mixture of papaya leaves and tawa-tawa plant also significantly increased platelet counts in rabbits within 24 hours.

Further laboratory tests on papaya and tawa-tawa revealed that both plants contain quercetin, a plant pigment known to naturally increase the platelet counts.

Recommending the continuation of the research, especially with the isolation of quercetin, the students stressed that the study is significant in the effort to develop treatment for the management of dengue. They said, “This research can benefit the society because it will pave the way to the development of new drug that is affordable, accessible, and effective against dengue.”

The Gruppo Medica Award is conferred annually by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) to give recognition to undergraduate researches on the practical or commercial application of herbal plants for health.

Tawa-tawa and Dengue Fever

(Green Hearts)

My son was diagnosed with Dengue fever a couple of weeks ago. With normal results for platelet count being 140,000 - 400,000 per microliter (mcL), his was at 131,000 on the second day of his fever.

Before panic could rise, I got reassuring advice from friends and kasambahays to try out this herb known as tawa-tawa. They said that tea made from this common plant had been featured in the news as a promising cure for dengue.

When we went home to pack for my son’s confinement in the hospital, I snuck in a quick internet search. From the website of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), I learned that in 2012, students of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy had conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models.” In layman’s terms, they used a cocktail of chemicals to duplicate dengue hemorrhagic fever in rats. It was to test widespread anecdotal evidence of tawa-tawa’s ability to heal people with dengue, thus turning into it the Philippines’ most popular folkloric treatment against this life-threatening disease.

In a nutshell, the study proved that tawa-tawa can increase platelet count, reduce bleeding time and decrease blood clotting time. The UST students’ conclusion: Tawa-tawa can, indeed, help improve the healing mechanism. At least, among rodents.

On the other hand, GMA News Online reported in a post dated Sept. 2010 that Dr. Eric Tayag of the National Epidemiology Center of The Department of Health (DOH) had cautioned that drinking tawa-tawa could “potentially aggravate” the condition by inducing peeing which could lead to further dehydration.

But a year later, in Aug. 2011, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that, according to Health Secretary Enrique Ona, “very preliminary” results from initial research work show that tawa-tawa “appears” to have “some effects” on rehydration. But he made it clear that the DOH was not making any official recommendations and stressed the importance of immediately seeing a doctor. “Don’t depend on tawa-tawa,” Ona had said.

I Googled further and found an even more recent post, also from GMA News Online dated Feb 2013, saying DOH had stated that although the tawa-tawa herb has not been proven to cure dengue, it may be taken along with effective medication and had been evaluated free of toxic substances, so it was deemed safe. In addition, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH manager for the Dengue Control and Prevention Program had explained that drinking steeped tawa-tawa is “fluid replacement, which is basically the thrust for dengue [medication].” In another article on the PCHRD website, Ona said that the DOH does not endorse tawa-tawa “but at the same time we are not prohibiting it”.

All right, so with a gap of three years, the herb had gone from “potentially aggravating dehydration” to “fluid replacement”. And the DOH was neither endorsing nor prohibiting.

I sighed and looked up from my computer and realized it was time to leave for the hospital. As I rushed towards the door, concerned kasambahays stood by, thermos in hand. At their own initiative, they had gathered tawa-tawa from our backyard and made my son enough infusion for a day. My husband and I took the thermos gratefully.

At the hospital, I asked a resident about the use of tawa-tawa and the response was pretty much seated on the fence right next to DOH. They see no harm in us having our son drink it, if it will make us feel better. On-going studies, she said, had deemed it to be safe. (But not exactly helpful, I believe, was her unspoken last sentence.)

Before my son’s first drink of tawa-tawa could take effect, medical personnel took another CBC. His platelet count had gone down to 101,000. For the rest of the day, my son finished the contents of his thermos. The next day, his platelet count went down to 100,000, a drop of only 1,000! We continued with the tawa-tawa, and on the next day, his platelet count even went up to 110,000. I was convinced the tawa-tawa was working. But later, I realized, I was looking at the wrong factor.

Keeping a “platelet count watch” is not the point of dengue treatment. What matters is his hematocrit count, which, in essence gives the doctors a reading of the patient’s dehydration level. Dengue is a disease of dehydration. Metaphorically, it’s “diarrhea of the blood vessels”.Fluids are not lost visibly, as with vomiting or LBM, but rather through insensible plasma leakage. And based on the blood tests, my son’s hematocrit level was not looking good. His blood was getting too thick.

For the first three days, I had my son drink the herbal infusion several times a day. But this was done only as additional fluid replacement, on top of the IV, oral rehydration solution, and lots of water. On the fourth day, his platelet count went down again and, despite massive intake of fluid, his hematocrit level didn’t improve. On the fourth day, his nose bled. By the fifth day, when we were all expecting the fever to break, I stopped the tawa-tawa and let his body take over. But the fever didn’t break, and his CBC showed that things were not improving. He was moved to ICU. By the eve of the seventh day, his fever finally ended. But by then, it had affected his heart.

The official diagnosis: Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Grade 2, with myocarditis. Thankfully, there would be no lifelong after-effects of the disease. His heart will fully recover.

What is my personal, unscientifically-backed conclusion from this experience? I believe the tawa-tawa was working wonders in preventing platelet destruction. But like I said, that should not have been the point. These days, doctors don’t consider blood transfusions for dengue anymore, even if the platelet count plummets to 10,000, provided there is no excessive bleeding. I think that even though the tawa-tawa tea was somehow assisting with fluid replacement, it was also masking the greater damage being wrought. For all I know, it might have actually been stimulating increased urination, as Dr. Tayag had suspected back in 2010. My son may have been more dehydrated than was suspected and the “good results” being generated by the tawa-tawa might have made the doctors less aggressive in managing his dehydration in the first few days.

Other Uses and Medicinal Benefits of Tawa-tawa/Gatas-gatas Plant

(Marvin Food Recap)

The potency of tawa-tawa as dengue cure is proven not only by studies but by a series of people testimonies. It can cure dengue fever even at its late stage, stage four.

Tawa-tawa is also known as gatas-gatas and with a scientific name of Euphorbia hirta. Its uses never stop at treating dengue fever cause it can be used to relieve variety of illness.

1) Antibacterial / Antimicrobial. It is antibacterial and noncytotoxic (not toxic to cells). Plant ethanol extracts are found to inhibit bacterial growth. Also effective against amoeba and fungal infection. Prepare 25 grams plant per two cups water. Boil for three minutes. Take three to five cups a day.

2) Antiasthmatic. The herb is good for asthmatic persons. It breaks up mucus and relaxes spasm. It is combined with bronchial sedatives in inhaler preparation. Steep one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water for ten minutes. Take three to four glasses a day. May also be form into cigarette – burn and inhale smoke.

3) Antidiuretic. Drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages promotes excretion of body fluids, diuretic effect. Rapid loss of body fluids is also experienced by person suffering from diarrhea or loose bowel movement. Too much dehydration can be fatal.

Gatas-gatas is different. It has antidiuretic effect. It contain active extracts of phytochemical tannins and flavonoids that promote water adsorption and electrolyte re-absorption. Indication is similar to antibacterial.

4) Anthelmintic effect. Tawa-tawa is an effective worms and its eggs killer, dewormer. Application is same as antibacterial.

5) Antihypertensive. It counteract high blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme and increasing urine output and electrolytes. Steep one to three teaspoons of leaves in one cup water for five minutes. Drink two glasses as tonic.

6) Sedative. Help in threating anxiety. Mode of application is the same as antibacterial.

7) Antidysentery. Dysentery – an infection of the intestines marked by severe diarrhea. Taking in small quantities calm the digestive system but large doses has purgative effect. Steep one teaspoon leaves in one cup water for ten minutes. Take four glasses a day.

8) Antispasmodic. It contains shikinic acid and choline that are responsible for stopping early and late stage allergy. Application is similar to antibacterial.

9) Treatment of skin diseases. Good for treatment of sores, boils, warts, fungi and open wounds. Threating open wounds will turn skin to bluish black. Apply fresh latex to sores, boils, warts, fungi and open wounds. Sprinkle dried or fresh powdered leaves as wound dressings.

10) Galactagogue. A breast milk stimulant. Massage fresh latex to breast to increase milk flow. Root decoction maybe taken – preparation is same as antibacterial.

Tawa-tawa is indeed effective but should be taken with caution. Large doses may cause gastrointestinal reaction, nausea and vomiting. Prolonged intake may interfere with iron adsorption. Not recommended for pregnant women.

Dengue Fever Cure using Tawa Tawa aka Gatas Gatas weed

(Cure Library)

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a much feared disease caused by a virus carried via mosquito bites. Dengue causes hemorrhaging of the internal organs to a point that it causes death. Western medicine, the common hospital does not have a cure for Dengue. They merely say that their treatment is supportive and all you need to do is pray that the dengue victim is strong enough.

But here in the Philippines, many people know and have attested to the fact that they and many others have been cured of dengue via a simple weed. This weed is called Gatas Gatas in the province of Leyte. But in Butuan City they call the same weed Tawa Tawa.

A case of a nephew Jeremy at 7 years old came down with dengue fever. Immediately, relatives in Cagayan de Oro City who knew about the dengue cure Tawa Tawa sent via airplane a few handfuls of the weed. In 24 hours, my nephew was cured.

My aunt Portia is the known herbalist in the government office NHA in Quezon City. There are lots of Tawa Tawa weeds growing around the NHA compound. Many NHA employees who have had trouble with dengue fever in their family have gone to Auntie Portia for help with the dengue cure. She picks a bunch of the Tawa Tawa weeds and gives it to the grateful employee that promptly cures every dengue case.

We planted a couple of Tawa Tawa weeds in our own garden. Just in case.

My auntie Portia’s recipe for curing Dengue Fever using Tawa Tawa weeds is as follows:

• Take 5 to 6 full whole Tawa Tawa plants.
• Cut off the roots
• Wash and clean
• Fill your boiling pot with clean water.
• Boil the Tawa Tawa for 1 (one) minute in a slow rolling boil.
• Pour the tawa tawa water and let cool.
• Let the dengue fever victim drink only the tawa tawa water for 24 hours.
• Sip 1 to 1.5 glasses of tawa tawa water every 1 hour

The internal hemorrhaging will stop and the dengue fever will be cured after 24 hours.

That’s it. Simple cure. Give it early enough. Tawa Tawa does not interfere with your western medical treatments. You can slip it in through to the patient in a water bottle. You do not need to ask permission from your doctor.

Alternative Treatments for Dengue Fever

By Ms. Chai Pei Yin (DPO International)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there may be 50-100 million dengue infections globally every year, with 2.5 billion people, at risk of this mosquito-borne infectious disease.

The potentially lethal and escalating dengue fever is problem with no definitive treatment available for now. Yet, many dengue victims swear by using back-to-nature traditional medicines for drastic cures. With no definitive treatment from modern medicine available, the best treatment for this infectious disease might lie in nature.

Tawa- tawa (Euphorbia hirta)

Tawa-tawa is a common medical plant grown in India, Australia and Philippines. It contains the phytochemicals components such as polyphenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, tannins and triterpenoids in the whole plant.

Animal studies showed that the active ingredients are suspected to be responsible in the increasing platelet count. Therefore, the potential use of tawa-tawa as a decoction is attributable to its effect on platelet distribution and possibly to the platelet protective activity of its antioxidant polyphenolic constituents

Pegaga Juice

Another one traditional cure for dengue fever is raw pegaga leaf juice. Pegaga or ulam pegaga (Centella asiatica) grows wild in many parts of Asia.

Researchers at the Asian Institute of Science and Technology in Malaysia found that pegaga (Centella asiatica) juice can increase the platelet count of people diagnosed with dengue fever. It contains active ingredients such as triterpeniods, glycosides, alkaloids and amino acids which are potent scavengers of free radicals.

Papaya Leaf Juice

Papaya leaves contain various nutrients and pytoconstituents like saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides and alkaloids. These constituents can act on the bone marrow, prevent its destruction and enhance its ability to produce platelets.

The potent antioxidant activity of papaya leaves is attributed to the array of phenolic compounds such as papain, chymopapain, cystatin, tocopherol, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, cyanogenic-glucosides and glucosinolates. Extensive studies have been demonstrated that aqueous leaf extracts of papaya leaves exhibited potential activity against dengue fever by increasing the platelets count, white blood cells and neutrophils.

'Tawa-tawa' leaves: For this miracle herb, dengue is just a cup of tea


EFFECTIVE not only against venom, but also against dengue.

Such is the new use of tea extracted from tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta), a plant traditionally used to cure boils, wounds, bronchitis, sores, asthma, and hypertension, said Rafael Guerrero III, an academician from the National Academy of Science and Technology.

“Tawa-tawa has been a traditional herbal medicine for centuries in countries not only in Asia, but also in the Caribbean, South America and Africa,” Guerrero told the Varsitarian by email.

He added that studies have shown that tawa-tawa, found in the Davao and Leyte areas, is effective in increasing the blood’s platelet count, which would help the body fight dengue fever.

Pharmacy graduates Jeriz Natividad, Hazel Lopez, Toni Ann Marie Luna, Rachelle Manalo, and Clarisse Ngo conducted a study in 2009 about the efficacy of tawa-tawa in curing dengue.

“In our research about the tawa-tawa plant, we found out that there was an increase in the platelet count,” said Natividad in an online interview.

Their research—titled “A study on the Mechanism of Platelet Increasing Activity of the Decoction and Ethanolic Extraction of Euphorbia hirta L. (Euphorbiaceae) as treatment for dengue”—found out that platelet production in the bone marrow is stimulated by the plant’s enzymes, which raises platelet count in the blood.

This elliptical-shaped plant has chemical compounds called phytochemicals that yield alkaloids (compounds mainly composed of nitrogen atoms), oils, and fatty acids proven to be helpful in curing dengue by rehydrating the patient.

“Drinking the tawa-tawa tea helps in hydrating dengue patients, and has an anti-viral effect as shown in vitro tests of researchers of the Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology,” said Guerrero.

He added that tawa-tawa tea “has no side -effects” and have anti-pyretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The anti-pyretic property of Euphorbia hirta causes the hypothalamus to override the body’s metabolism and lower the temperature. The process fortifies the immune system to overcome the fever.

The analgesic property of tawa-tawa, on the other hand, eliminates the pain brought by the dengue virus by acting as an anesthetic, with morphine-like effects, to numb the body while eliminating the pain-inducing toxins from the body.

Other than the anti-pyretic and analgesic capabilities of the said plant, it also has natural enzymes that stabilize the membranes of blood vessels, thus preventing internal bleeding.

“[However,] until well-controlled clinical studies are conducted, tawa-tawa as a dengue cure cannot be officially recommended by medical doctors,” said Guerrero.

In UST, 18 cases of dengue had been reported to the Health Service as of September 21, 22 cases in August, 14 in July, and 11 in the first month of classes.

They admitted a total of 54 dengue patients since the start of the academic year, and the latest figures show a doubled number of dengue victims during the rainy months.

Nigerian researchers uncover herbal remedies for asthma

By Chief Morgan Okwoche

People living with asthma no longer need to despair. In fact they may no longer need to worry about taking their inhalers wherever they went. A local preparation might have provided a solution. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.

IT can be discomforting and an identified cause of sudden deaths in Nigeria. Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.

But results of studies carried out by Nigerian researchers suggest that the largely genetic disease could be treated and managed with a concoction made of pineapple fruit, unripe pawpaw, palm nut, bitter kola, ginger, garlic and onions mixed in pap water and honey.

A recent study published in European Journal of Scientific Research by Nigerian researchers has uncovered six recipes or rather possible novel drugs for treating asthma: Ananas comosus (pineapple) fruit, unripe Carica papaya (pawpaw) fruit and palm nut in pap water, Garcinia cola (bitter kola), Zingiber officinale (ginger) and Allium sativum (garlic) in honey, Carica papaya seed, a decoction of Garcinia cola root bark with a pinch of salt in water, Corchorus olitorus (jute in English, ewedu in Yoruba) and honey and decoction of Crudia klainei leaves or bark in water.

The study is titled “Ethnobotanical survey of plants used in treatment of inflammatory diseases in Ogun State of Nigeria.”

The researchers include Omonike O. Ogbole and Adebayo A. Gbolade of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University Sagamu campus, Ogun State and Edith O. Ajaiyeoba of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State.

An ethnobotanical survey was conducted into plants and plant recipes used in the treatment of inflammatory diseases in five local councils in Ogun State of Nigeria namely, Sagamu, Ikenne, Ago-Iwoye, Oru and Ijebu-Igbo through the use of semi-structured questionnaire. Respondents included traditional medical practitioners, herbalists and herb sellers.

Also, the popular asthma herb, Euphorbia hirta, has been shown to not only to be effective in treating asthma but to possess antiviral activity against Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Euphorbia hirta belongs to the plant family Euphorbiaceae. It is called In Nigeria, asin uloko in Edo, endamyel in Fula-Fulfulde, ba ala in Igbo (Owerri), akun esan in Yoruba.

Euphorbia hirta is also locally known as ogwu ngwo (eczema drug) in some eastern parts of Nigeria is used locally to arrest bleeding in the event of an injury. Leaves of Euphorbia hirta are used in traditional medicine for the treatments of boils, wounds and control of diarrhoea and dysentery.

The use of pineapple, pawpaw, Bitter kola, onion, garlic and ginger to treat asthma has also been confirmed by another study published in Pakistan Journal of Nutrition.

The study is titled “Medicinal Herbs Used for Managing Some Common Ailments among Esan People of Edo State, Nigeria.”

The researchers at the departments of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Medical Biochemistry and Botany, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State wrote: “… Abrus precatorius leaf extract is chewed for asthma… Allium cepa (onions) bulb is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally. Allium sativum (garlic) bulb is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally… Ananas comosus (pineapple) fruit for asthma. Ripe fruit is eaten. Carica papaya (pawpaw) dry leaf for asthma. The smoke of burnt leaf is inhaled.

“Euphorbia hirta leaf is taken for wound. It is applied on the surface of the wound. Fresh leaf is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally. Garcinia kola (Bitter kola) root bark is taken for asthma. Decoction is taken orally after food.”

Abrus precatorious belongs to the family Leguminosae-papilionoideae. In Nigeria, it is omisinmisin in Yoruba and empo in Esan. It is commonly called jequirity (from a Brazilian name), crab’s eyes (the seeds), bird’s eye (the seeds), prayer beads (the seeds), lucky bean (the seeds), Indian liquorice, or wild liquorice (the root).

The Euphorbia hirta HIV study titled “Antiviral activities of extracts of Euphorbia hirta L. against HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIVmac251” was published in In Vivo by researchers at Johan Béla National Center for Epidemiology, Microbiological Research Group, Budapest, Hungary.

The antiretroviral activities of extracts of Euphorbia hirta were investigated in vitro on the MT4 human T lymphocyte cell line. The researchers wrote: “The HIV-1 inhibitory potency of E. hirta was studied further and the activities of the aqueous and 50 per cent methanolic extracts were compared. The 50 per cent methanolic extract was found to exert a higher antiretroviral effect than that of the aqueous extract.

“The 50 per cent methanolic extract was subjected to liquid-liquid partition with dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and water. Only the remaining aqueous phase exhibited significant antiviral activity; all the lipophilic extracts appeared to be inactive. After removal of the tannins from the aqueous extract, the viral replication inhibitory effect was markedly decreased, and it was therefore concluded that tannins are most probably responsible for the high antiretroviral activity.”

Another study published in Journal of American Science has confirmed the antibacterial activities of Euphorbia hirta. Leaves of Euphorbia hirta used in traditional medicine for the treatment of boils, wounds and control of diarrhoea and dysentery was extracted by maceration in ethanol. The agar diffusion method was used to determine the antibacterial activity on Staphylococcus aureus, E coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi and Bacillus subtilis at different concentrations while it was tested for toxicity on albino rats by injecting varying concentrations of the extracts through the intraperitoneal route.

The results indicated that the extract inhibited the growth of Staph aureus, E. coli and P. aeruginosa to varying degrees. The extract did not inhibit the growth of S. typhi. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract for E. coli, Staph aureus, P. aeruginosa and B. subtilis were 58.09mg/ml, 22.55 mg/ml, 57.64 mg/ml and 74.61 mg/ml in that order…Thus the plant extract is haematologically not toxic to rats. The observed antibacterial activities were believed to be due to the presence of tannins, alkaloids and flavonoids which were identified in the extract.

“The results are of significance in the health care delivery system and apparently justifies the use of the plant in the treatment of sores, boils, wounds and control of dysentery and diarrhoea,” the researchers concluded.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Euphorbia Hirta

(Health Brings Joy)

Euphorbia hirta is a bizarre, bristly herbaceous plant that is regularly found in tropical parts of the world, thought to be local to India. It is essentially utilized as a restorative herb because of its interesting synthetic structure and intense impacts on the body. It has been utilized generally for a large number of years. The leaves, blossoms, and sap from this herbaceous plant, which is likewise ordinarily called an “asthma weed”, are all utilized as a part of various courses and in various structures, contingent upon the current infirmity. The absolute most vital medical advantages of Euphorbia hirta incorporate its capacity to advance mending, alleviate the skin, secure female generation, cure gastrointestinal disarranges, enhance breath, support the resistant framework, expand fruitfulness, and lessening irritation. There are some of the health benefits of Euphorbia Hirta listed below, let’s have a look.

5 Health Benefits of Euphorbia Hirta:

Euphorbia Hirta Good for Skin Health: The ointments produced using Euphorbia hirta can be connected specifically to the skin on bubbles, wounds, rashes, blazes, and different imprints. This arrangement can speed the stimulating so as to recuperate process blood stream to the skin, empower the re-growth of new cells, and even contribute its cancer prevention agent ability to advancing healthier looking skin. It can take out indications of maturing and lessen the presence of wrinkles and sun harm.

Euphorbia Hirta Help to Prevent Gastrointestinal Issues: Besides dispensing with parasites and intestinal worms, Euphorbia hirta can likewise relieve the gastrointestinal framework and dispose of manifestations of looseness of the bowels or diarrhea. By mitigating the gut walls, Euphorbia hirta can restore your bowel discharges to a more typical level.

Sexual Activity: Euphorbia hirta has for quite some time been utilized as a sexual stimulant, both to build moxie and help ripeness. For guys who need to help their sex drive and enhance their odds of beginning a family, Euphorbia hirta can be an awesome arrangement. It can even avert premature ejaculation! For ladies, Euphorbia hirta can fortify the creation of breast milk. In any case, it ought not be given to pregnant ladies, as it can bring about unnatural birth cycles.

Euphorbia Hirta good for Respiratory System: The calming way of the herb makes it perfect for mitigating bronchial aggravation, asthma, sore throats, and chronic coughing, and additionally conditions like bronchitis.

Anti-inflammatory: One of the other mainstream names for Euphorbia Hirta herbs is snakeroot, as it can rapidly kill poisons and decrease inflammation at the site of a snakebite.

Tawa-tawa contains active ingredients that may help dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patients – study


Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta), also known as “gatas-gatas,” is a hairy herb grown in open grasslands, roadsides and pathways. This indigenous plant is considered as one of the most popular folkloric treatment for dengue in the Philippines.

Intent on finding out the truth behind tawa-tawa’s curative properties, students of the University of Sto Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models. The study aimedtoverify the effects of tawa-tawa decoction to a dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patient showing a symptom of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count due to excessive bleeding).

In the study, the students used chloramphenicol, ethanol and heparin to induce thrombocytopenia on rat models, mimicking dengue hemorrhagic fever. They administered tawa-tawa decoction to the sample groups and collected blood samples to check for platelet count, bleeding time (duration of bleeding), and blood clotting times in several stages of the experiment.

Results showed that platelet count increased by 47% depending on the drug used to induce thrombocytopenia. Bleeding time was reduced up to 62% while blood clotting time decreased to 58% compared to the control groups.

Based on the results, students concluded that administering tawa-tawa decoction to animal models help improve their healing mechanism. Tawa-tawa was able to promote cell production, and prevents platelet destruction. Likewise, the improvement in the cell bleeding time and clotting time provided evidence that the indigenous plant can preserve and promote the hemostatic function of platelets.

The students also discovered phenolic compounds in tawa-tawa, active ingredients suspected to be responsible in the increased platelet counts of tested animals. In an interview, Mr. Ryan Justin Raynes, one of the student researchers saidthat through a phenolic determination assay, they were able to identify ‘minute’ phenolic compound in tawa-tawa samples. “Although there were small amount of phenolic compound in tawa-tawa, this was sufficient to exert effect promoting quality and quantity of platelets,” Mr. Raynes said.

Because of the study’s significant findings, it won the first prize in the PCHRD – Gruppo Medica Award held during the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week held at Sofitel Manila last 10 August 2012. PCHRD – Gruppo Medica Award is given to undergraduate students engaged in herbal medicine research that have potential for practical or commercial applications.

Local Tawa-tawa herbs may cure tuberculosis, dengue

(TJD, GMA News)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through its Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), is currently doing studies on the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of the tawa-tawa plant (Euphorbia hirta) and its supposed ability to increase blood platelets. The discovery of tawa-tawa’s active ingredient could lead to the development of treatments for tuberculosis and dengue.

Researching the medicinal properties of tawa-tawa and other native herbs is currently a top priority of the agency. Its drug development program looks into natural substances from plants and animals as possible sources of cure for diseases. “Natural products research in the country is being refocused and modernized by DOST as competition in the increasingly global industry becomes more intense,” says DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.

More than a quarter of the new chemical entities discovered from 1981 from 2002 come from natural products—a significant percentage, says PCHRD executive director Dr. Jaime Montoya, that suggests that natural products are important sources of new drugs or lead compounds suitable for further modifications during drug development.

A new chemical entity, or NCE for short, is a molecule developed at the early stage of the drug discovery process. It goes through clinical trials before it is developed into a drug to cure certain diseases.

Drug development is one of the DOST-PCHRD priority programs for 2012. To coordinate drug research across the Philippines and to build the health research capacity in every region, the Council launched Tuklas Lunas Centers nationwide. The first Tuklas Lunas Center to be launched was the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) campus. It will be followed by two more research institutes in Luzon and the Visayas.

This year, the PCHRD will also embark on the development of diagnostic kits for priority diseases, genomics and molecular technology; functional foods; hospital equipment and biomedical devices; information and communication technology (ICT) in health; and chronobiology, or the study of the effects of night and day to living organisms—in particular, the effect of shifting work schedules for workers in the Business Process Outsource industries.

The PCHRD is mandated to formulate policies, programs, projects, and strategies for health science and technology development. It also generates and allocates government and external funds for research and development, and monitors research and development projects.

How to Make Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) Tea as Cure for Dengue

(Business Diary)

Tawa-tawa tea is said to be an effective cure for dengue. To find the truth behind tawa-tawa’s curative properties, students of the University of Sto Tomas (UST) – Faculty of Pharmacy conducted a study entitled “Investigation of the anti-thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models.”

Results showed that laboratory mice treated with the decoction of “tawa-tawa” had an increase in platelet count, reduced bleeding time and decreased blood clotting time. Based on the results, researchers concluded that administering tawa-tawa decoction to animal models help improve their healing mechanism.

Euphorbia hirta or popularly known in the Philippines as “Tawa-tawa” or “gatas-gatas,” is a hairy herb that just resides in the backyard, roadsides and pathways. This common weed – tawa-tawa – is claimed to have healing properties on dengue patients as being backed up by personal testimonies, it became one of the most popular “folkloric medicine” for dengue in the Philippines.

As a folkloric treatment in the Philippines for dengue, tawa-tawa has earned many anecdotal testimonies from those who purportedly became well from the plant’s concoction: its leaves boiled like a tea and taken orally.

Tawa-tawa Tea

In preparing tawa-tawa tea, 100 grams of the fresh whole plant (including roots) are washed and boiled in half a liter (500 ml) of water for 15 minutes. After cooling and paper-filtration, the decoction is taken by the patient at one glass every hour until the fever subsides.

Tawa-tawa pill maker dead serious about dengue

By Jocelyn R. Uy (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

This is no laughing matter.

A dead-serious, small-time herbal supplement manufacturer has started exploring ways to make the plant called “tawa-tawa” (Euphorbia hirta) an acceptable cure for dengue in the absence of science to back claims of its many healing properties.

Shirley Su-Alampay, who came up with the idea of encapsulating powdered tawa-tawa six years ago, told the Inquirer that her group has been collecting and collating testimonials and blood test results of dengue patients who took the capsules to build a case study that will prove the plant’s curative powers.

“We have to gather these records from various patients so we can proceed with Phase 2 of the clinical study on the efficacy of tawa-tawa plant on dengue fever cases,” said Alampay, sales head of Opti-Life Innovations.

The start-up company has recently obtained a certificate of product registration from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which allows the group to put the encapsulated tawa-tawa extracts on the shelf.

The coveted FDA certification classified the product, named “Tawa2 Plus,” as an over-the-counter drug under the pharmacologic category of traditionally used herbal product, but merely for the relief of asthma symptoms.

Tawa-tawa, alternatively known as “gatas-gatas,” has been traditionally used in Asia and Australia to treat asthma, coughs, diarrhea and dysentery and in Nigeria for eye and ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhea, according to a 2012 publication of the National Drug Information Center.

DOH stand

The Department of Health (DOH) has repeatedly indicated the absence of validated scientific study that would back claims of its effectivity in curing dengue cases.

In 2011, the DOH reported that an initial research by the Department of Science and Technology showed that the local plant appeared to have “some effects” on rehydration and the agency was trying to “isolate” the active substance responsible for this.

But it was quick to add that the results were “very preliminary” and it could not make any official recommendation about the plant’s possible dengue-fighting properties.

On Friday, Health Secretary Janette Garin reiterated the DOH’s stand that “there is no validated scientific study or results” on the efficacy of tawa-tawa—leaves or capsules—as treatment of dengue.

“If the claims are true, there is no substantiation. And they need to register it with FDA as treatment,” she told the Inquirer in a text message.

She said the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care has yet to make a position on such health intervention.

“There may be potential but there is no scientific evidence yet and the DOH cannot endorse such claims,” Garin said.

Second phase

Alampay said the members of her group are aware of the DOH’s stand on tawa-tawa, which is why they are pushing to proceed with the second phase of the product’s clinical trial.

“We started it already with Bulacan … we were able to talk to some (private) doctors who tried it on their patients and it worked,” she said. “We also asked them to get testimonials and the platelet count records of these patients.”

The DOH has reported a surge in the number of dengue cases in the past nine months in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Metro Manila.

The provincial governments of Cavite and Bulacan have recently declared a state of calamity due to the increasing number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

“Because of the rising number of dengue cases, the advise to us is to get as many records because these can be case studies that can be used in the clinical trial,” Alampay said.

The herbal product underwent a clinical trial for safety and toxicity in 2012. Documents provided to the Inquirer showed that this was conducted by the Research and Biotechnology Division of the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for clinical research services group, Rainiers Contract Research Services Inc.

How it began

The interest in the local plant began in 2009 following Tropical Storm “Ondoy” that inundated large swaths of Metro Manila. One of Alampay’s brothers, who lives in Marikina, one of the many areas surrounded by stagnant water, contracted dengue.

A brother in the United States referred her to a Davao-based relative of a Filipino office mate who had access to the tawa-tawa leaves. It eventually became the subject of a thesis of students of Ateneo de Davao University.

Alampay had the tawa-tawa leaves regularly shipped to Manila, and made fresh tea from the herbal plant for her sick brother to drink every hour. Overnight, her brother’s condition improved and his platelet count increased.

Two nieces also contracted the dengue virus and the tawa-tawa concoction helped them overcome the mosquito-borne disease.

Convinced of its healing properties, Alampay said she thought of making tawa-tawa available in capsules to make it more accessible and tolerable for dengue patients.

“Tawa-tawa tea tastes bad, it’s like drinking soil. So we thought, rather than discourage people from taking tawa-tawa, we might as well come up with an alternative that is more convenient,” she said.

Don't laugh, tawa-tawa is a cure for dengue


Take it from me. If any of your loved ones gets afflicted with dengue, ask a friend in Davao to send you a bunch of tawa-tawa ASAP. And while waiting for it, have the dengue victim take a decoction of camote tops and a papaya-leaf paste.

I've been kicking myself in the head for not having written this up nearly a year ago, or soon after my 21-year-old son was stricken with dengue. We successfully licked the medical problem by relying on herbal stuff other than hospital facilities.

Now that the dengue outbreak remains unabated, it's time for everyone to know about these effective traditional cures — and for medical authorities to acknowledge the same, however grudgingly.

Just the other day I caught a DOH official on TV news dismissing the use of tawa-tawa, and recommending instead the 181 solution of oral rehydration salts. Hearing him perorate on the subject just strengthens the suspicion that most doctors, and hospitals, will always insist on sanctioned pharmaceuticals instead of acknowledging the many tried and true benefits we can get from our local flora.

About a year ago, when my son started running a fever, having general body aches, and worst, losing his usual gargantuan appetite, I worried enough to take him to Medical City on Ortigas Avenue. Tests were conducted, and the diagnosis handed down hours later. His platelet count had gone down severely; it must be dengue.

The attending physician, an articulate and pleasant young man, suggested that I begin trying to reserve a room. But I found out that we could only join a waiting list, and that it might take at most another day before we could be assigned one.

Known as snakeweed by Native American tribes, tawa-tawa has been used for a wide assortment of ailments. Krip Yuson I went back to the doctor and asked him what we could do in the meantime. What medication should the boy take, other than Biogesic to keep his fever down? He suggested a lot of juice and water. He had to avoid dehydration.

I then asked, if we managed to get a room the next day, exactly what treatment would my son get? He may be put on suero if his platelet count dropped further. And what would that suero do? Basically, it was for rehydration. Bed rest and lots of liquids were the essential needs.

But he can have those at home, I said. The doctor agreed. It seemed that one simply had to run out the course for dengue. There was no outright cure. The only advantage of hospitalization would be the daily tests on blood and platelet counts.

Since my age and inherent philosophical drive to nitpick any problem privileged me with kakulitan, I then proposed: What if I just kept him at home, where he can rest all day in an airy bedroom (and still indulge in his usual computer games when he's up), and I also make sure he gets juiced up, besides taking antipyretics and receiving that old folks' treatment (done to me as a kid) of getting wiped with a vinegar-soaked towel? Then take him back for tests every morning for as long as necessary?

The equally charming doc smiled and said yes, it was up to us, but more than that, my alternative to getting a room was entirely workable. Fine, I said, thanks, doc, see you again tomorrow. We drove home, only five minutes away, and I immediately buckled down to help my son do battle with dengue.

Off to SM Hypermarket I went, to stock up on jugs and cartons of apple juice, cranberry, grape, orange, guava, the works, local and imported. Then it was Watson's for Biogesic and analgesics. Back home, whenever his fever rose high enough to debilitate him away from his PC and send him back to bed, I gave him the suka fever-sopping treatment.

Then I did the next best thing, which was to go on the Internet and also text friends about the matter. The S.O.S. call produced instant results.

Believe me, a friend from Davao City texted back, here everyone just takes tawa-tawa for dengue. What's that, a hallucinogenic herb? It's not for me, but for my son, I added. The lady explained that it was a common shrub that grows in patches of idle land. I'll LBC you some, just wash up the bunch, and boil everything, including the roots, and give him a cup 3-4 times a day. Oh, Okay. Great, thanks.

Now, I've always trusted in old folks' remedies. Tell me that a man's gotta believe in something, and I'll nod and point out the herbal wisdom of the ages. I guess I'm genetically predisposed to that sort of abiding faith, having had an herbolario, or so I was told, as a paternal grandfather.

I've also been quite a researcher on flora, their beauty and benefits. When I found out that eucalyptus leaves were good for pulmonary problems, I made sure to grow my own eucalyptus tree (a blue gum smuggled home from Oz-land). And when we had to leave it behind, I quickly recognized similar species standing tall inside our new village. Every time the kids suffered from bad colds and coughs, I'd have 'em soak in a hot tub with sprigs of gum leaves. They enjoyed the soothing whiff and fragrance, and were back to being insufferable balls of energy in no time.

So tawa-tawa was acceptable to usually non-gullible me. But I researched on it, and found out that in the American Southwest, it's called snakeweed. Here's what Googling came up with, by way of info from the USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, which also supplied snakeweed's official nomenclature, Gutierrezia sarothrae:

"Broom snakeweed was used by numerous Native American tribes for a variety of reasons. The Blackfoot use the roots of broom snakeweed in an herbal steam as a treatment for respiratory ailments. The Dakota use a concentrate made from the flowers as a laxative for horses. The Lakota took a decoction of the plant to treat colds, coughs, and dizziness. The Navajo and Ramah Navaho rubbed the ashes of broom snakeweed on their bodies to treat headaches and dizziness. They also chewed the plant and applied it to wounds, snakebites, and areas swollen by insect bites and stings. The Comanche used the stems of broom snakeweed to make brooms for sweeping their residences."

Hmm. Davao's snakeweed might take a day or two to make it to our place. So I did more Net-surfing on dengue. A Pinoy based in Indonesia swore by papaya leaves. He recounted how a friend's daughter whose platelet count had gone dangerously low recovered quickly after being given "papaya juice."

Actually, it's not juice, but a paste, judging from the informant's detailed narrative: "They got some papaya leaves, pounded them and squeezed the juice out for her. The next day, her platelet count started to increase, her fever subside. We continued to feed her with papaya juice and she recovered after 3 days!!! Amazing but it's true. It's believed one's body would be overheated when one is down with dengue and that also caused the patient to have fever. Papaya juice has cooling effect. Thus, it helps to reduce the heat in one's body, thus the fever will go away. I found that it's also good when one is having sore throat. Those of us staying in Subang Jaya are lucky as we can get papaya juice easily from the Penang Cendol stall in Giant! One cup is only RM1."

Another friend SMS'd that camote tops would be the surefire antidote. And another Web entry seemed to verify that. A Bernardo Rocha told the story 

of how "Computer technician Wenceslao Salesale Jr., 27, was 
downed by dengue. His platelet count plunged from 180
 to 80. He was rushed by ambulance from Novaliches to
 Manila. Inside the ambulance, a relative, acting upon 
the advice of a missionary priest, made him drink soup
 made from camote tops. The following day, his platelet
 count was normal. 

Dengue attacked the seven-year-old daughter of engineers
 Mar and Lita Budlongan of Kaloocan City. Her platelet
 count read 80. The same treatment was used. The 
following day she was back to normal...." Etc.

Mr. Rocha also provides the following info that he picked up from Wikipedia: "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet 
potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber
 content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A
 and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato ranked 
highest in nutritional value. According to these
 criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points 
over the next on the list, the common potato (NCSPC).

"... Sweet potato tops are excellent sources of 
anti-oxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which 
may protect the human body from oxidative stress that
 is associated with many diseases including cancer and 
cardiovascular diseases. Sweet potato greens have the
 highest content of total polyphenolics among other
 commercial vegetables studied."

His instructions I quickly followed upon getting bunches of talbos ng kamote from the supermarket:

"Camote tops are boiled in water to extract the juice.
 The boiling lasts for about five minutes. A little
 salt is used to give flavor to it. The patient is made 
to drink slowly and gradually. The body's immunity 
system is thus revived, making dengue helpless against
 the body's natural defenses. Camote enables the body
 to heal itself. 

... (P)eople are needlessly dying
 all around us from dengue, while their very cure is
 also all around us. 

In the past, many were fond of using the derogatory 
statement, 'Go home and plant camote.' Now, camote is 
big news. It can save lives!"

Indeed, I made my son drink camote tops tea every three hours, and the very next day his decreasing platelet count was arrested at 100. On the third day it went up to 105. I also gathered papaya leaves from the neighborhood, and pounded them into tablespoons of paste. But he refused a third tablespoon even after I had mixed in some honey; he just couldn't take the bitterness.

Finally the cavalry arrived from Davao. I did as I was told with the tawa-tawa. My son willingly took the tea. The next day his platelet count was up to 120. And on the fifth day that I took him to Medical City, the doctor smiled when he gave us the final results. My son was back to normal.

It took only two days of camote tops decoction, two tabelespoons of papaya-leaf paste, and another two days of more talbos ng kamote and tawa-tawa tea to win the battle against dengue.

Eventually I would find that tawa-tawa has already been commercialized. Bottles of tawa-tawa capsules are now sold at a Tiendesitas stall. I can't say that they're as effective as a fresh bunch of leaves, twigs and roots that have been boiled, as had proved effective for my son. And as it did for a writer-friend who had been hospitalized for nearly a week until I told her about tawa-tawa. Like me, she asked for a friend in Mindanao to send her a bunch. And she came out of that hospital in three days.

There should be no harm in trying tawa-tawa capsules. We should all recall how lagundi, among all our other herbal concoctions, has now been accepted as a pharmaceutical, although it certainly took some time. Like the truth, the herbal cures are out there, just in our own backyards.

Mr. Rocha of the "Go-home-and-plant camote!" injunction should have the final say here, as he had blogged on the Net:

"I asked a doctor of medicine about herbal cures and he
 said that many, if not most, medicines come from 
plants. He also said that under the Hippocratic Oath,
 doctors are bound to encourage anything that can cure a 

Pictures of Tawa Tawa or Euphorbia Hirta

  • Pictures taken by Frank Maletsky

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