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Malaria- Causes, Symptoms and Herbal Remedies

Ayurvedic Name : Vishama Jwara

What is malaria ?

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Plasmodium within the red blood cells characterized by attacks of chills, fever and sweating. It is transmitted by the female Anopheles Mosquito which is mainly confined to tropical and subtropical areas. There are approximately 400 Anopheles species known and out of which 30-40 are responsible for transmitting four different species of parasites of the genus Plasmodium - the main cause malaria affecting many human beings. Anopheles gambiae is one of the best known out of these parasites. Quick multiplication of parasites results in destruction of red blood cells and as the number increases the chances of affecting red blood cells also increases.

What are the causes of Malaria?

Malaria is mainly caused by parasitic protozoa, which spends most of its life in the red blood cells of humans. Malaria is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito, which transmit the parasites by first ingesting them from an infected person's blood and then injecting the parasite in to an healthy person.

Malaria is caused by one of four protozoan species of the genus Plasmodium they are:

  • Plasmodium falciparum.
  • Plasmodium vivax.
  • Plasmodium ovale.
  • Plasmodium malariae.

After a bite from an infected mosquito, the parasite enters the person's bloodstream and travels to the liver where it grows and after that it multiplies the malaria. During this time when the parasite is in the liver, there are no visible symptoms and the victim doesn't feel sick.

What are the symptoms of Malaria?

Signs and symptoms of Malaria may vary from person to person. Only your doctor can tell you properly about the disease with adequate diagnosis.

The main symptoms of malaria include:

  • Fever.
  • Shaking chills.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Tiredness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Symptoms may appear and disappear in phases and may come and go at various time frames. Malaria infection are not always dramatic, and can easily be dismissed as unimportant.

Malaria symptoms occur at least seven to nine days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Fever in the first week of travel in a malarial risk area is unlikely to cause malaria, however ill travelers should still seek immediate medical care. Although malaria is unlikely to be the cause and you must evaluate some other fever.

The most common type of malaria infection is that of Plasmodium falciparum and this strain does NOT have a relapsing phase. The other strains like Plasmodium vivax, ovale and malariae can infect the liver and persist in a dormant state for months or even years after exposure to the infection.

Types of Malaria

There are three types of malarial fever that may be classified depending on symptoms or caused by the parasite. The leading symptoms are mainly same but their occurrence and duration do vary. They are

1) Tertian Fever.
2) Quartan Fever.
3) Malignant Fever.

Tertian Fever: The attacks surface on alternate days.

Quartan Fever: In this fever the attack of fever occurs after an interval of two days, i.e. if first attack of fever occurs on the first, another attack will occur on the 4th day, then 7th, 9th and so on.

Malignant Tertian: It is a variety of severe type of malarial fever when malignancy sets in and is, thus, the most severe and most alarming type of malarial fever.

Treatment for Curing Malaria

Usually there is no risk of catching malaria in the UK, but if are living in a country with tropical and subtropical areas, then malaria is very common in those areas and any body could catch it.

The treatment for malaria depends on where a person is infected with the disease. Different areas of the world have malaria types that are resistant to certain medicines. The correct treatment for each type of malaria must be prescribed by a doctor.

According to the New malaria treatment guidelines - Uncomplicated falciparum malaria must be treated with ACTs and not by artemisinin alone or any other monotherapy because the use of single-drug artemisinin treatment or monotherapy, hastens development of resistance by weakening but not killing the parasite.

Doctors recommend that treatment should be started within 24 hours after you see the first symptom of malaria. Treatment of patients with a simple type of malaria can be conducted at their own homes, but patients with severe type of malaria should be hospitalized as soon as possible.

Infection with Plasmodium falciparum is a medical emergency. About 2% of persons infected with falciparum malaria die, usually because of delayed treatment. Patients who have severe P. falciparum malaria should be given the treatment by continuous intravenous infusion.

Some Herbal and Home Remedies for Treatment of Malaria

  • Lime and lemon play a vital role in the treatment of quartan type of malarial fever. About three grams of lime and a juice of 1 lemon should be dissolved in about 60 ml of water. This mixture can be taken before you suspect the attack to take place.
  • The herb chirayata, botanically known as Swertia chirata, is also beneficial in the treatment of intermittent type of malarial fevers. It helps in lowering the temperature. An infusion of the herb, prepared by immersing 15 gm of chirayata in 250 ml of hot water with aromatics like cloves and cinnamon, should be given in doses of 15 to 30 ml.
  • Alum is also useful in malaria - First take a small amount of alum and then roast it over a hot plate. Now powder it. Half a teaspoon of this powder 0should be taken about four hours before the expected attack and half a teaspoon every two hours after it. This may help you in giving relief.
  • The leaves of holy basil are also considered beneficial in the prevention of malaria. The juice of about eleven grams of leaves of holy basil mixed with three grams of powder of black pepper can be taken beneficially in the cold stage of the malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.



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