DOST to test ‘tawa-tawa’ as cure for dengue, tuberculosis

By: Tarra Quismundo, April 13th, 2012 06:06 AM

tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) photo by foodrecap.net

The government’s medical researchers have embarked on a new study to determine if there is science in the claims that the plant called “tawa-tawa” has therapeutic properties.

Many Filipinos say tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) is a cure for dengue and tuberculosis. Some doctors frequently interviewed on popular health programs on radio have noted the curative effects of tawa-tawa, but none has categorically said that the plant indeed has medicinal value.

To settle the matter, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the research and development arm of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is looking into claims that tawa-tawa has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and that it can increase blood platelets, vital in the treatment of dengue, a fever that has rising cases, especially among children, in some parts of the country.

“The discovery of tawa-tawa’s active ingredient will lead to the development of treatments for dengue and tuberculosis,” a statement from the DOST said.

The study is one of the DOST’s research priorities on a program aimed at developing drugs from herbal and animal sources.

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