As I was preparing for traveling to the Amazon there was a whole list of packing supplies and preliminary steps to follow.
One of these had to do with contracting malaria. Specifically, they said:
“The rainforest region we will be visiting has a history of malaria, and we recommend that each participant take preventative medicine. Prescription Malarone has proven most effective without strong side effects, and the herbal tincture Artemisia (Wormwood) is a good option.”
Seeing as I don’t do “drugs” I got some of the herb recommended.
But then another update came down the pike:
“Our colleagues in the Ecuadorian rainforest have notified us that there has been an outbreak of malaria (at latest notice 105 confirmed cases) over the past weeks. We want you to know of this increased level of infection by the mosquito population and to strongly encourage you to choose an allopathic preventative to protect yourselves from contracting the disease.”
What do I do now?
I literally have not so much as taken a Tylenol in many years. So I looked into it.
First of all, would be the difficulty in obtaining Malarone seeing as I don’t actually have a doctor to prescribe if for me.
Secondly, the list of possible side effects is still pretty large even if they aren’t super common, and it isn’t even 100% effective. Being sensitive to drugs since I don’t use them, this didn’t sound fun.
Ultimately, after meditating on it, the decision came down to this…
I practice what I preach, even in a potentially risky matter such as this.
I would place my trust in herbs.
I would place my trust in my own immune system.
This is who I am and I would affirm that in this decision.
So I loaded up on Artemisinin, an extract of sweet wormwood.
(I totally forgot about this, but Zane pointed it out to me later. Tongkat ali has been used over the years in traditional medicine to treat malaria. Several studies have been done to back up this historical use, including one that saw a combination of artemisinin and tongkat ali extract suppress 80% of infection in mice.)
The next time I head down there I know exactly what I’m bringing with me.
In the end, the mosquitoes weren’t even bad at all. I got a few bites…
And all signs point to me NOT having malaria.
(And no, in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t even concerned about the Zika scare in the least bit.)
Now, do I recommend you do this if you head to a malaria infected area?
The short answer is no.
Every person must make their own choice. I share this just to share my personal decision, my reasoning for it, and as a possible alternative to the medical monopoly.
- Muangphrom, P., Seki, H., Fukushima, E. O., & Muranaka, T. (2016). Artemisinin-based antimalarial research: Application of biotechnology to the production of artemisinin, its mode of action, and the mechanism of resistance of Plasmodium parasites. Journal of Natural Medicines J Nat Med, 70(3), 318-334.
- Mohd Ridzuan, Sow A, Noor Rain A, Mohd Ilham A, Zakiah I. Eurycoma longifolia extract-artemisinin combination: parasitemia suppression of Plasmodium yoelii-infected mice. Trop Biomed. 2007 Jun;24(1):111-8.
- Ang HH, Chan KL, Mak JW. In vitro antimalarial activity of quassinoids from Eurycoma longifolia against Malaysian chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum isolates. Planta Med. 1995;61(2):177–178.
- Chan KL, Choo CY, Abdullah NR, Ismail Z. Antiplasmodial studies of Eurycoma longifolia Jack using the lactate dehydrogenase assay of Plasmodium falciparum. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;92(2–3):223–227.