Dengue Fever: Prevention, Treatment and Tawa Tawa Plant


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By Willie T. Ong, MD, The Philippine STAR, July 7, 2009

The rains are here again. And so are those killer mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus. In a year’s time, thousands of Filipinos get sick from dengue, and many have died as a result. Symptoms include 2 to 5 days of high fever, which may be followed by bleeding, shock and death.
The danger is real. If Kris Aquino’s kids could get dengue, then anyone can get sick from this deadly virus.
In order to prevent dengue, we need to hunt down those killer mosquitoes, but that’s easier said than done. Here are ten strategies to do it.

1. Clean up your backyard. Mosquitoes love to stay in dark and damp areas. So if your garage is littered with boxes and assorted junks, clean them up or throw them away. Don’t let them become mosquito havens. Schedule a weekend clean-up day.
2. Empty containers with stagnant water. The dengue-carrying mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. This means that flower pots, garbage cans, aquariums, unused swimming pools, tires and other mud and piles are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. So after the rains fill them with water, throw the water away. Next time, keep these containers closed and upside down. Flower vase water should also be replaced weekly.
3. Check your surroundings for stagnant water. Some ornamental plant leaves have this whorl or cup-like shape that can hold water. Beautiful to behold but deadly in design. Turn them over and throw the water away. Upturned coconut shells are also notorious for holding water. Non-moving rivers, especially in squatter areas are full of mosquito eggs.
4. Close your doors and windows. Some people open their doors in the morning for a whiff of fresh air. They also believe that mosquitoes would leave the house and go into the sunlight. But my advice is to keep your doors shut at all times. If it’s too stuffy, then place a screen door that keeps the flies and mosquitoes outside.
5. Spray insecticide regularly. To rid your house of mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches, spray insecticides every few days. Make sure you spray those dark corners, crevices and cabinets. You’ll be amazed at the number of vermins you’ll find dead in the morning. Just make sure that household members are not exposed to the insecticide as they are not the target. Just spray selected rooms and keep people out for at least 2 hours.
6. Wear pants, pajamas, long sleeves, and socks. Mosquitoes are attracted to our breath as we exhale so they know how to reach us even in the dark. And I guess they love bare, plump skin, especially the kids who don’t shoo them away and let them suck as much blood as they want. So better ask your school authorities to let the kids wear pants and rubbers shoes. They’ll love it.
7. Place OFF Lotion or use mosquito nets. If your kids are going hiking, camping or off to school, you can apply insect-repellants like OFF Lotion. Kids like to play outdoors and are prime targets of these mosquitoes. You can wipe it on selected areas of the clothing, like collars, sleeves and just some on the skin. Avoid applying lotion on eyes, mouth or hands.
8. Kill those mosquitoes. When it comes to dengue, it’s either kill or be killed. Instruct everyone to kill as many mosquitoes and flies as they can. Once you’ve got them trapped in your bathroom, show no mercy. Don’t be bothered by your conscience since mosquitoes belong to the forest, not in our homes.
9. Involve the whole community. The best way to defeat dengue is if the whole barangay is aware of the threat. Ask the barangay to schedule a clean up day. The danger is in those empty houses and lots, which are excellent breeding places for mosquitoes. Get your barangay into the act. Become a volunteer to monitor and clean up your surroundings.
10. Spread the word: Dengue fever is here. You’ll never know where dengue will strike next so better be prepared. Inform your friends, too.

Treatment for Dengue:
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 might help. Locally, many 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!

65 Responses to “Dengue Fever: Prevention, Treatment and Tawa Tawa Plant”

  1. stephen faustino Says:

    pwede po b mag-ask ng question? i have a thsis about tawa-tawa kasi. is tawa-tawa scientifically accepted for curing dengue?
    my comment is it was a great help for me of knowing added infos about dengue. tnx. pls also reply.

  2. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi Stephen,

    No, Tawa-tawa is not yet scientifically accepted as a cure for dengue.
    However, since there is no cure for dengue and medical treatment is only supportive, then tawa-tawa may be of help.
    I don’t see any serious harm in using it.
    We have to await future studies to confirm the effectivity of tawa-tawa.

    Willie Ong

  3. henry Says:

    I’ve heard of his tawa tawa from my brother in law and search it in the internet and read lots of positive comment, but i don’t see where this plant could be readily available if i want to buy. there’s one post saying it is abundantly growing in NHA compound in Q.C.
    I’m staying in San Juan, are there places or herbal stores nearby that this plant is available, if possible ready to drink or already in tea bag?
    thank you.

  4. amary-ann Says:

    I wonder why the DOH is not doing an extensive research on tawa tawa to determine its safety threshold..we heard of positive comments but not all are confident to use it because of it’s still questionable status

  5. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    I’m not sure yet if there are commercially available Tawa-tawa plants. But once they become available, I’ll post them here.
    Yes, Amary-Ann, Tawa-Tawa would make a good research study. Hopefully, DoH or DOST would sponsor such a study.
    Thanks for your comments.
    Doc Willie

  6. imee angeles Says:

    Hello, doc willie… my son is currently confined at the hospital suspected dengue. as i was searching the net i saw this –
    “THE health department has still not concluded its study on the feasibility of the tawa-tawa plant (Euphorbia pilulifera) as herbal remedy for dengue.” for the complete article pls check this link – http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2008/06/24/news/study.on.tawa.tawa.as.cure.for.dengue.not.yet.done.html

  7. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Thanks for the link, Imee.
    Yes, I’ve read that article already.
    Hope your son gets well soon.

    Doc Willie

  8. Fidji Says:

    Tawa tawa is a very common weed..it grows anywhere..You may not notice it but you have been stepping on it..

  9. dea-j Says:

    y is it that there is no such extensive research done on the effectiveness of this plant on treating such disease. it would really be a great help if there’s one because we are planning to have a plant design regarding on the production of medicines.

  10. akisha Says:

    tawa tawa is effective herbal medicine or not?

  11. Carla Says:

    does the tawa-tawa plant has the ability to increase blood platelets?

  12. snowhite Says:

    is tawa tawa good also for highblood people?

  13. Willie T. Ong Says:

    According to former health secretary Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, the government will need 20 million pesos to conduct a study on the tawa-tawa plant. Right now, we do not know for sure if tawa-tawa is effective for dengue or not.
    However, some experts speculate that tawa-tawa may contain a plant enzyme that stabilizes the membrane of the blood vessels.
    To answer your questions, I don’t think tawa-tawa can increase blood platelets and I don’t think tawa-tawa is effective for high blood pressure.

  14. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Thank you for your comments. We hope the concerned agencies will study the tawa-tawa plant soon.

  15. Tin-tin Consuelo Says:

    Good day Doc! just wanna ask if tawa-tawa can be made into an ointment to cure mosquito bites? also, what is it in tawa-tawa that can increase the number of blood platelets.? i’m waiting for your reply. thank you.

  16. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi Tin-Tin,
    As I mentioned in my previous comment, I don’t think tawa-tawa can increase the blood platelets. Its said action is more on the stability of the membrane of the blood vessel. Regarding mosquito bites, I’ve not heard about it yet.

  17. Jesus P. Las Marias Says:

    I was in Palawan for two occasions and each time I interviewed migrants from Luzon who chose to finally reside there despite the scare of contracting the dreaded malaria. They just simply laughed it off and told me nobody ever died of malaria from among the local folk. That is because of the “tawa-tawa” which they boil and take it as tea. They said that even the provincial hospital recommend it because of the high cost of western medicines. And to the relief of everyone the “tawa-tawa” concoction is the preferred treatment.

    Comes now the son of Rey Langit and his photographer who died of an ailment contracted while in Palawan. Local folks believe they did not die of malaria but they died of something else because they desecrated sacred grounds. Still, they say had they not left Palawan and consulted local folks there, they might still be alive today.

    But since the absence of any clinical trials to prove the efficacy of the weed to cure malaria and other suspected diseases like dengue, I can only take it from personal and other people’s experiences. I have used its white sticky juice to cure sore eyes and its really effective. My sister use it to cure cuts and bruises and it does not only prevent bleeding, it hastens healing.

    With these experiences, I can conclude that “tawa-tawa” has very strong anti-viral properties. I also believe it has a substantial amount of zinc that it promotes healing of the tissues.

    Whatever the properties of the “tawa-tawa”, it is only prudent to examine it to fully understand it application in medicine. Maybe it can even cure AIDS if it is anti-viral. But until our health agencies (I have suggested it already to the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation to finance a research program) and other concerned parties try to do further studies, we may not be able to fully understand this “lowly” weed which to us, it has curred, have found relief and confidence.

  18. eillene Says:

    Good Day DOc. I just wana ask if is it ok or safe to take the tawa-tawa for a child with a G6PD defficiency?

  19. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    I don’t think it is safe. We don’t have any data on patients with G6PD taking tawa-tawa.
    I would suggest we stay with the regular medicines.
    Willie

  20. quiqui Says:

    is tawa tawa could be safe for other diseases not only in denge?

  21. CARMEN E. LIBERTINO Says:

    WE HAVE BEEN USING TAWATAWA FOR A MONTH NOW SINCE WE WERE DOWN WITH FLU. MY FEVER COLDS AND COUGH WERE CURED BY TAWATAWA. I PURPOSELY TOOK ONLY THIS HERBAL PLANT TO FIND OUT ITS CURING POWER AND PRESTO IT DID WITH NO EXTRA COST BECAUSE IT GROWS WILD IN OUR FRONT AND BACKYARDS. LALAGA MO LANG TAPOS YUNG NILAGANG TUBIG INUMIN MO.

  22. Kayle Says:

    Doc Willie
    Can an ITP patient with below 20 platelets use the tawa-tawa to increase her platelets? Cause prednisones has no effect to increase my daughters platelets. now, her doctor adviced us to stop her prednisone and just wait . 2 weeks ago when her low platelets detected . Thank you

  23. jhingkie bigueras Says:

    hi! what other illnesess can tawa tawa can cure?im having a research about this for my thesis any one who wants to help me? just leave me a message in my ym kenj_girl14@yahoo.com.thank you po!

  24. Billy Rey Manauis Says:

    Doc Willy,.,.,,.as a student ,we want to know that ,’if this tawa tawa plant is available now for curing bec. in our school ground at TNHS we have this plant w/c prove that can cure for dengue virus w/c researched w/ my schoolmate last year”,my teacher in chemistry was very curious on it bec. many people are now died of the bites of flies caused of dengue and now there is no proveness about to tawa tawa plant as aid.,,,.the question on this situation,” we’ll still discover the plants, up to much just die? When?” or discover just how many of them died of disease or need really to be the stand-discovery has become a famous.I hope every relay in the bottom of this disease in quick time and the true scientist will move to perform their duties.
    “All I wish to all a researcher not to be selfish”
    ^ _ ^ Thank u ^ _ ^

  25. Tawa-Tawa: A Natural Remedy for Dengue | Experience Negros! Says:

    [...] 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 [...]

  26. hail pua Says:

    is it ok to drink tawa-tawa if you are pregnant?

  27. DIANA ELOISE BIBAY Says:

    I AM A FIRST YEAR STUDENT FROM PHILIPPINE SCIENCE HIGHSCHOOL. NOW WE ARE REQUIRED TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATORY PROJECT. I AM THINKING MAYBE I SHOULD STUDY THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TAWA TAWA SINCE ITS IN TIME AND MAYBE IF I COULD STUDY ITS CHEMICAL CONTENT WHICH IS BELIEVED TO REGENERATE THE PLATELETS OF DENGUE VICTIMS THEN I COULD HELP. I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING THE INTERNET ABOUT THE CHEMICAL CONTENT OF TAWA TAWA BUT WHENEVER I DO THAT OTHER TOPICS ABOUT TAWA TAWA COMES OUT. DR. WILLY PLEASE HELP KNOW WHAT ARE THE CHEMICALS INSIDE THE TAWA TAWA PLANT WHICH CAN POSSIBLY PROVE THAT IT CAN REGENERATE THE PLATELETS LOST IN THE BODY OF A VICTIM. THANK YOU.

  28. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi Diane,
    The truth is that we still don’t know what are the chemicals inside the tawa-tawa plant. That’s the reason why we need to study it. There is presently a proposal at the DoH to study this plant. Hopefully, it will get approved and started soon.
    The secretary of health, Dr. Enrique Ona, is supportive of this project.
    Good luck on your study, too.
    Dr. Willie Ong

  29. xie maqui Says:

    Is tawa tawa helps in curing highblood? Im just curious, coz my mom have this tawa tawa plant and use it as her tea, she told me that her friend advice her to use this tawa tawa plant coz it helps to cure highblood.. Is it true?

  30. xie maqui Says:

    How about for cyst sir?does tawatawa can cure cyst?

  31. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    No, I don’t think tawa-tawa can cure high blood pressure.
    Again, no. I don’t think tawa-tawa can cure cysts.
    Maintenance medicines are very effective for high blood pressure.

  32. xie maqui Says:

    Thankyou very much po.. :-D

  33. rbq Says:

    For details about Tawa-tawa, please visit http://www.stuartxchange.org/GatasGatas.html

  34. carmen encinares ramacola Says:

    DEar REaders,

    Tawa tawa plant can be found somewhere if your are fond of jogging in your village, subdivision or park try to stop for a while and you can see it. They are not a very sensitive
    plant usually they can see in a very stony place. I found one for my self and transfer in a big pot.

  35. Gabriel Astilla Says:

    ..what chemical content does tawa-tawa plant contains that increases blood platelets??please answer this because i need it in my presentation..thanks!!

  36. lore joy Says:

    tawa-tawa plant is good to cure dengue fever. it is a good benefit especially to those who have not enough money.

  37. Jameel Bisagas Says:

    I want to do a research about this Tawa-tawa. My brother acquired dengue last month and since I’ve heard so many positive feedbacks about this plant, I didn’t hesitate to try it. I wasn’t sure if it was effective since he followed strict adherence to his treatment and undergone blood transfusion.
    Does anyone already did this topic? What is the focus of your study?
    Dr. Willie, Is there any chance that I can go to any institution to test the chemical properties of Tawa-tawa? And where can you suggest me to go? Thank you so much!
    waiting for your response! God Speed.

  38. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi Jameel,

    As I’ve mentioned in this thread, there are already a few ongoing studies on Tawa Tawa, especially in St. Luke’s Hospital. DOST is the institution that may help in this regard.
    Good luck on your study.

  39. kate Says:

    Hi. We have a research in our school,its about the Survey on the effectiveness of tawa tawa on patients who were diagnosed with dengue. I hope I could Learn and gather some information here in your site. thanks

  40. kristine Says:

    good afternoon. i’m about to make an article about the conceptions of doctors on folk medicines of dengue? its about, do you recommend or prescribe them to patients?

  41. nicoel delos reyes Says:

    i’m Paula Marielle Kasim and im just a first year high school student..im just so curious about tawa-tawa because we have a research title that includes tawa-tawa and our oral defense is fast approaching. we just want to ask if what is the component that tawa-tawa have to cure dengue?

    we really need your help.
    thank you for your concern.

  42. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi Paula,
    Thanks for you question. But right now, sorry, but we don’t know yet what is the exact
    component in tawa-tawa. The DOST and DOH are currently studying the plant. Kindly tell your teacher that.
    Willie

  43. kristine Says:

    good afternoon. i’m about to make an article about the conceptions of doctors on folk medicines of dengue? its about, do you recommend or prescribe them to patients?

  44. lousean Says:

    This plant grow almost everywhere. We have them at home. When I was a kid my mom used to call it ‘golondrina’ and it was used to cure my sister’s sore eyes by cleaning it well, grinding it and extracting the juice that served as eye drops. The sore eyes healed fast.

  45. juvy ibanez Says:

    hi! good afternoon..
    is tawa-tawa plant essential to be used as insect repellent?
    thanks.

  46. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    I have not heard of tawa-tawa as an insect repellent.
    Thanks for your query.

  47. Carlo E. Verde Says:

    i have a thesis about tawa-tawa, do you know how to isolate phytol in tawa tawa leaves? ur reply will be a great help.

  48. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    Sorry but I am not aware of how to isolate the chemical in the tawa tawa plant. Good luck on your study.

  49. dennis Says:

    where can i buy this plant or where can i find one of this tawa-tawa plant, coz i’m interested in growing this in my farm.

  50. Ally Says:

    For me Tawa-tawa has a great helped in our family because ever since my mother did not use any medicines when we have high fever and to avoid turned to dengue fever she only used Tawa-Tawa. We were 9 children in our family but until now Dengue had never struct to us due to Tawa-Tawa and now I am already 40 years old we were saved by Tawa-tawa and it was been proven to our family only Tawa-tawa weeds cured us when it comes to dengue no worried anymore we knew the top secret medicines though the DOH insisted that tawa-tawa not yet approved to their studies but I still thanks to my parents who uses tawa-tawa since during our ancient ancestors, therefore we were saved any high fever occurred.Thanks God he had given us Tawa-tawa weeds. To save lives suffered Dengue why they won’t try Tawa-tawa? just like us why our parents has no worry if high fever occurred and not suffered dengue virus? due to alternative of Tawa-tawa less cost by God given medicines for us to be cured from ridiculous virus of Dengue.

  51. CHRISTOPHER Says:

    Dr. Ong,

    Good day.
    I have a son, whose platelet is continuously going down. 3 days ago, his platelet count was 172, and today it went down to 155.
    Is this a definite indication that he has dengue fever? He has fever ranging from 38 to 39 this past 3 days, but he has no petechiae or any rashes on his body.
    If I will give him Tawa tawa Juice now,will it increases his platelet level?

    Is their any side effects if he will take the tawa tawa juice?

    Hoping for your feedback.

    Thank you so much.

    Truly,

    Chris Busain

  52. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,
    As of the present time (August 2011), the Department of Science and Technology is still investigating the efficacy of Tawa-tawa. If the DOST’s research proves conclusive, then DOST has said that they will manufacture Tawa-tawa tablets, which will be available by 2012. Right now, based on the available scientific data, the medical experts cannot confirm the efficacy of Tawa-tawa. If you want to use Tawa-tawa for a patient, tell your doctor first that you plan to take it. So that there will be no conflict with the regular supportive medications for Dengue. – Dr. Willie Ong

  53. Nico Says:

    Tanong ko lang po kung saan ako makakakuha ng tawa-tawa plant. Kailangan po kasi namin for extraction. Salamat po :)

  54. merlinda Says:

    meron po dito marami sa ANTIPOLO CITY

  55. ajoh Says:

    good day po…my investigatory project po akong ginagawa ngayon about tawa-tawa plant,gusto ko lang pong malaman kung anu-ano pa ang ibang facts about this kind of plant…tsaka po kung papaano po ito nakakagamot.thanks!

  56. let Says:

    @ Nico maraming tawa tawa sa paligid.. usually kasama sya ng mga weeds o damo.. I used Tawa tawa the other day to my daughter na nagka dengue before, dati rati tumatagal ang fever nya ng 3-4 days pero after drinking tawa tawa juice every hour, isang araw lang galing na..

  57. cresen Says:

    pwede pa din po ba uminom ng tawa tawa tea kahit nakalabas na ng hospital ( nadengue po kasi anak). her platelet count was 148 ng idischarge sya from hospital. is it ok na uminom pa sya ng tawa2 tea kahit magaling na sya kasi nabasa ko po na pag nasorahan ay pwede din g makasama ito. hanggang kelan po pwede.

  58. arbie tan Says:

    ask ko lang po ang tawa tawa plant po ba ay 1st aid sa may dengue symptoms? meron po ako ngayon dengue symptoms.. tawa tawa herbs lang pinapainom saken.. wala po bang bad effect ang tawa tawa sa katawan?

  59. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi
    If you have dengue symptoms, see your doctor so that he can do tests to confirm dengue fever. Tell your doctor that you are taking
    tawa tawa. Good luck.

  60. Peeka Booo Says:

    Hi Doc, my friend’s 2 yr old son has dengue. kaninang umaga 60 ang platelet count nya, then kaninang tanghali, 54 na lang.. mmayang gabi kukunan ulit sya ng platelet count. We’re so worried. Matagal na sya dapat pinainom ng tawa-tawa ng parents nya, pero inadvise sila ng pedia na wag daw uminom nun, til now wag daw painumin nun. kaso nga ngaun ay patuloy na bumababa ung count, nothing is helping for his platelets to go up… is it safe to drink tawa-tawa kahit na mababa na ang platelet count?

    we are really hoping he will be okay.

  61. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi,I don’t think there is any harm in drinking tawa tawa. However the DOST has not yet completed its research on the effectiveness of tawa tawa. My advice would still be to follow your pediatrician. We hope and pray that he will get well soon.
    Willie

  62. bea valdez Says:

    what is the component of tawa tawa that can increase blood platelets????

  63. Willie T. Ong Says:

    Hi, Scientists are still unsure whether tawa-tawa can increase the blood platelets. No official results have been announced yet although studies are ongoing. As of the present time, we still don’t know what the component is in tawa-tawa that may help dengue patients.

  64. Leah Niña Elsie Vega Says:

    Your post is very informative. In the prevention section, can I add up another solution? Our discovered another way to fight against the Denque virus and you can check it out at http://www.greatmoms.net.

  65. Ivan Mcgettigan Says:

    Interesting information, thanks. I would just to mention that even the Mayo clinic says that vigorous exercise while pregnant can be helpful.

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