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MALARIA This is caused by a type of protozoa belonging to the genus plasmodium. It infects the red corpuscles and gives rise to periodic fever, enlargement of spleen and anaemia. It is transmitted by female anopheles mosquito. In different regions, this is known differently, like ague, intermittent fever and jungle fever. In Ayurveda this is called vishama jwara.

Signs and symptoms: Prior to the manifestation of the disease, the patient may suffer from a transient headache, backache, generalised ache and tenderness in the liver area. There may be slight rise in temperature also. The onset of the fever is either sudden or slow. Prior to the fever, the patient may feel tiredness, stiffness of neck-muscles, pain in the muscles, bones and anorexia. Fever when it appears is generally associated with headache, backache, aching pains in the bones, malaise and fatigue. Usually in the beginning of the fever, there is shivering. But in certain types of malaria this shivering is absent. Nausea, anorexia and vomiting are very common. At the later stage of the disease, the spleen also gets enlarged. The fever is characterised by its remitting nature and is mostly associated with discomfort in the stomach region, bilious vomiting and chocolate colour stools. The onset of fever is generally in the morning or early afternoon. This fever is characterised by the following three stages:

a) Cold stage: The patient feels restless, develops headache, backache and experiences chilliness, then the shivering begins. The face is pinched and the skin turns cold and blue. Blankets and rugs are taken in an effort to keep warm. Nausea and vomiting during the onset of fever is not uncommon. In about half to two hours, the temperature rises rapidly up to 103�F - 106�F.

b) Hot stage: The skin becomes burning hot and all clothes and blankets are discarded. The face remains flushed and the pulse is rapid. The patient may get a headache and in severe cases, there may be delirium. This stage may persist for 8-10 hours.

c) Sweating stage: The skin becomes moist, followed by profuse sweating. The headache and pain disappear and the pulse becomes slow. The temperature then falls at the end of the attack, and the patient feels well.

Because of repeated attacks of the fever, in chronic cases the spleen becomes stony hard and enlarged. The patient becomes anaemic. When the patient becomes free from fever herpes appears on lips and face.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Malaria: Sudarshana churna is the drug of choice for the treatment of this disease. It is given to the patient in a dose of one teaspoonful, three times a day. To make it palatable, honey should be added and the whole thing made into a paste and administered to the patient. The important ingredient of Sudarshana churna is Chirayata. The powder of this drug is given to the patient in a dose of one teaspoonful, three times a day. This is also used in decoction form in a dose of six teaspoonfuls, three times a day. In all these preparations, honey is added.

Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is often used for the treatment of this ailment. Six teaspoonfuls of the juice should be given to the patient three times a day. Kutaja is also useful in the treatment of malaria. The powder of this drug is given to the patient in a dose of one teaspoonful, three times a day, mixed with honey.

The treatment of the patient should be continued with these medicines even after he is free from fever. If used for sufficiently long time, it increases the immunity of the body against such attacks. Sometimes, the fever may get cured, but the splenic enlargement and anaemia may continue. The above mentioned medicines will be useful and this should be continued as long as the patient has even a trace of malaria.

Diet to taken by Malaria patients: During the attack phase and even thereafter, the patient usually suffers from loss of appetite. Food should not be given to the patient forcibly. Soups, barley water and milk can be given. When the patient is free from the attacks of fever, the appetite is restored. But even during this period, the patient should not be given the freedom of eating whatever he likes. Both wheat and rice can be given to the patient, but care should be taken to ensure that his stomach is not overloaded. Raw and bitter vegetables are always useful for such patients. The patient should be given fruits in adequate quantities. Leafy vegetables like fenugreek leaves, asafoetida, ginger, and garlic are extremely useful for these patients. The patients should avoid pickles, fried food and cool drinks.

Other regimens: The malaria patient should use a mosquito net to save himself from the germ-carrying parasites thus preventing infection. Since the patient becomes weak, he should not exert himself or do any heavy exercise. He should take adequate rest but sleep during the daytime is prohibited.