20 December 2008

Chinese Tea Kills Malaria


Malaria kills about two million people a year worldwide. The disease is spread by a parasite carried in mosquitoes. Two drugs have been used to treat most malaria. They are quirine and chloroquine. However, the drugs are no longer effective against malaria in many parts of the world.

Recently a scientific study showed why a kind of Chinese tea may be the most effective drug against the disease malaria. They study showed that a chemical in the tea destroys the malaria parasite.

The tea is called quinhaosu. Chinese doctors have been using the tea to treat fever. It contains an active chemical artemisin. In malaria patients, artemisin starts a reaction that poisons the malaria parasite. The parasite is unable to destroy the iron in hemoglobin. The tea’s active chemical artemisinin sticks to the iron. The resulting chemical reaction releases molecules called free radicals. These molecules destroy major parts of the malaria parasite.


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