Friday, 29 November 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 31: Searching for new remedies against the malarial parasite …



# WATWB – Soup War on Malaria?!  At long last we are researching indigenous remedies – but in this case finding them via the cuisine of London’s ethnic community …

#WATWB


… looking into the apparent blocking of the malarial parasite in the process of transmission, through various broths.



Malarial parasite connecting to a red blood cell
In one primary school – the pupils were asked to bring in samples of clear soup made from traditional family recipes (European, North African and Middle Eastern).   (London being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world).




The broths varied: vegetarian, chicken, or beef based were all home-made – thus no obvious particular ingredient leading to an antimalarial activity … but which was known about.


Chicken Soup
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine have been working with the students testing their families’ broths … against two stages of the parasite: when it can infect mosquitoes, and when it can cause the disease in humans.



The research is ongoing … but the other benefit has been to engage the children in the idea of research: where it can start, and how results are evidenced … how many of them will now become scientists?


Winsor McCay's 1912 animated film:
"How a Mosquito Operates"
We live in interesting times … and as usual to this curious mind two other appropriate links appeared … a BBC programme on Li Shizhen (1518 – 1593): who is considered to be the greatest scientific naturalist of China …



… and an Ethiopian Swedish chef and restaurateur,  Marcus Samuelsson, now living in New York … again from a conversation on the Beeb … bringing together those culinary influences.




“In Darkness, Be Light.”

Li Shizhen - and his Compendium of Materia Medica 





Be thankful ... we, the privileged human race, can learn so much from history and each ecosystem.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

40 comments:

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Hilary: What a wonderful breakthrough that would be. Have a bowl of nutritious soup and immunize yourself against malaria. It is a disease that has been a curse to mankind forever and conventional anti-malarial medications seem to have little effect these days as most mosquitos have developed resistance to them.

Rhodesia said...

We have just been on tablets for travelling in Kruger, though generally, the area is not too bad. A cup of soup would have been very much better I am sure. Just not worth taking the chance, especially as I have kept clear of malaria in all the years I have travelled in malaria areas. Interesting post. Cheers Diane

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Classic; a bowl of soup cures all ills, in my book!!! Delightful post as always, Hilary. Love something to 'chew' over and bring up in later conversations &*> YAM xx

Botanist said...

Science should pay a lot more attention to the unconscious wisdom of traditions. So many pieces of folklore turn out to have a core of truth in them.

Elephant's Child said...

This is a fascinating approach - and overdue on lots of levels.
As others have noted, traditional remedies quite often work and close study of them has led to some breakthroughs.
Involving the young in scientific study is also a breakthrough. Long may it continue.
And I do hope that the malaria scourge can be tackled too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - it's an interesting project ... and I hope to hear more about it. It'd be great if one could just eat soup to keep malaria at bay ... I was lucky and didn't have a reaction to the anti-malarial pill - but a kid we were with ... had an awful reaction: that was back in the late 1980s.

The movement of insects, fish is concerning - but we are clever creatures - and I hope this one disease we can keep at bay and learn how to protect people.

@ Diane - yes I remember those tablets: as I mentioned above I was fine with them, but a kid I was with suffered badly. Lucky you having just been in the Kruger - such a beautiful place. A cup of soup would help so many in this world ... if this project takes off and works ... it'd be fantastic ...

@ Yam - I know chicken soup is the best when one is feeling grotty. So glad you feel you can investigate the links further ...

@ Ian - great to see you: you are so right ... it's about time we take the wisdom of our ancestors to heart - before this knowledge is lost. Love the phrase ... 'unconscious wisdom of traditions' - it appears more knowledge is being taken from these early remedies.

@ EC - so good to see you around again. I was thrilled to read this article and immediately thought this was such a great #WATWB - let alone the involvement of the school children and using their family recipes.

There's so much we can still learn from the ancient texts ... let alone the indigenous tribes ... but it'd be great if malaria can be tackled via a soup - to help so many.

Thanks everyone - so good to see you all - Happy Thanksgiving weekend to those it applies to. Cheers Hilary

Chatty Crone said...

I don't know about malaria - but I do think our eating hurts our health in oh so many ways. This was interesting.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Most of us grew up with the eat-soup-when-you're-sick mind set. After years of people eating chicken soup when they had colds, doctors discovered it really does help clear the sinuses. When I had pleurisy years ago, the only thing I ate for many days was the broth from oyster stew. I don't know if it had any curative powers, but it was very soothing. So, bottom line, even though I hadn't heard of the project that's looking into various broths as a possible preventative against malaria, it isn't all that surprising. Like others have said, those old folk remedies often have basis in scientific fact. I hope this project is a rousing success.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear lady. Cheers!

Jz said...

An affordable and accessible prevention would be an amazing breakthrough - let's hope it has terrific success. (Still won't stop me from swatting the beejeepers out of mosquitoes, however...)

Liz A. said...

How fascinating. Anything to teach how science works is a good thing.

Hels said...

I don't know about malaria, but I love the idea of children being encouraged to participate in well documented, well controlled scientific research.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandie - malaria is a very nasty mosquito born disease ... and certainly our dietary habits don't help our health ...

@ Susan - yes ... actually I don't remember soup as a child - though, we must have had it ... it was bovril drink, dry toast for dunking and lots of sleep - til we bounced back!

I'd never heard of oyster stew ... but see it's an American dish and is also popular in the Gambia ... sounds delicious though. Obviously didn't do you any harm!

I just found it so interesting Imperial College were looking into broths from different regions of the world ... perhaps their research will open up other doors to using restorative properties from the plant world, which can be found in local regional foods. I quite agree - here's to more soup initiatives ...

@ Jz - oh I agree swatting the beejeepers is a complete necessity ... that pitched buzzing sound is so annoying - but loved this idea of potentially finding malarial inhibitory results from the ingredients ...

@ Liz - it's a great way of teaching isn't it - and then opening the student's eyes to possibilities for different jobs.

@ Hels - yes that seems to be the major benefit: that the students will be encouraged to look at science as a way to their future in the adult world - the project will certainly teach them lots ...

Thanks so much for visiting ... I love these #WATWB posts - we can learn so much about different things that are happening around the world ... cheers Hilary


Susan Scott said...

Wouldn't this be wonderful to find wisdom in cures of olden times - and to be able to USE them NOW. I'll follow your links when I can Hilary, thank you. And thumbs up to teachers encouraging their pupils to look beyond ..

bookworm said...

Isn't it interesting, the wisdom of our ancestors, which so many of us have forgotten? Now, if science and ancient wisdom can team up, perhaps one day my ethic culture's delicious chicken soup will truly be the cure for the common cold. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

retirementreflections said...

HI, Hilary - I always find your posts to be thought-provoking....and this one tops the charts. We definitely do live in interesting times. We should never neglect the wisdom of our past.

Jacqui Murray said...

Another wonderful post, Hilary. I don't always feel privileged--usually don't. Today, I just feel tired.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - we do seem to be prepared to look more into folk remedies ... and like you it'd be wonderful if we can work out how to use them now - I'm always amazed when I come across some scientific idea that was used by the ancients ... but we in today's age can't seem to work out how. I agree the extra huge bonus out of this research is that of the collaboration between Imperial College and the school children ...

@ Alana - yes the wisdom our ancestors had from their herbalist forebears ... which they cultured and nurtured. Also it'd be great if science and ancient wisdom teamed up ...

I wonder if your familial chicken soup would have some of these properties ... I guess that sometime in the not too distant future we'll be able to check things like this out - eg sort of DNA for soup from one's ancestors ...

@ Donna - I was really interested to find this article and then of course come across Chinese Li Shizhen from 500 years ago, and Marcus Samuelsson - Ehtopian via Sweden, now in America ... apparently both thinking about food in the same way as Imperial College ...

I hope you get a chance to look at the links above - they fascinated me ... and we do seem to be paying attention to the information we have from the early days ...

@ Jacqui - it's that time of year for being tired - and you've achieved an awful lot this year ... your travels, publishing your book, the research you've done ... I guess some of this post could 'feed' into your ancients' stories ...

Thanks so much for visiting - always lovely to see you ... and I'll be pleased to be back on my regular, irregular postings schedule! Cheers Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

A really interesting post, Hilary. In recent years my travels have taken me to several places where a malaria warning is in place, most recently Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe. So far I've got away with it! The yellow fever vaccination is a problem for me since they won't give it to you after 65 years of age. Somehow I managed to persuade the Bolivian border control to let me pass despite it being a requirement.

Janie Junebug said...

The research is brilliant and it's great to engage the children in it. How wonderful it would be if malaria finally waved goodbye.

Love,
Janie

Anabel Marsh said...

Soup versus malaria - who knew? Certainly not me! And as you say, a wonderful project in which to involve children.

Dan said...

This is wonderful. Not only is it helping the fight against a disease, and introducing students to research, it's showing them that modern science can be based on old and even ancient ideas.

mail4rosey said...

I bet it will spark the desire for a future in science for some, and a big hurrah for it!

Joanne said...

I'd sip soup to avoid malaria. Around here if we have a West Nile virus breakout, I'm concerned. My fair skin seems to attract the evil creatures. Ray can sit calmly outdoors in the summer evening. Not me. I'm slapping myself and drowning in spray. If I were in a malaria area, I'd be dead. So - my sympathies to those countries under attack and I truly hope a cure could be found.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - I can believe there must be many places on this planet where malaria is rife ... lucky you being in Kruger and Zimbabwe recently - perhaps you're drinking lots of G+T? Yellow Fever is horrible too ... and managing to get into Bolivia - I imagine a stunning place to visit - it's wonderful your love of travel is still being fulfilled.

@ Janie - isn't it wonderful that they're letting the children be involved in the research ... and if only we could eliminate many 'ills' for the populations of the world.

@ Anabel - good title ... soup versus malaria! I'd have never thought to put two and two together ... but somehow the researchers have taken this track and are involving the school children.

@ Dan - Exactly ... it is just brilliant to know that we are looking at these sorts of ways to find remedies against the day to day diseases. And that science is being used to evaluate the possibilities of wisdom from the past.

@ Rosey - I sure hope the children will be inspired to take up scientific research ... but it will definitely open their eyes to being aware of different approaches.

@ Joanne - I know I'd bring more soup into my diet if I could fend off some of the viruses. West Nile virus is another distinctly horrible disease of similar ilk.

It's interesting how some people can get away with being outdoors and not bitten ... while others of us need to have extra protection. How fortunate Ray is - I feel for you.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and notes - I hope we are looking at other ways of evaluating our ancestors' wisdom in their approach to remedies. Cheers Hilary

Pradeep Nair said...

Such a delightful post, Hilary.
One mustn't forget that some of the home remedies that base themselves on tradition, could be very effective. Modern science often ignores them because they don't conform to certain scientific parameters. But it might be worthwhile for present-day researchers to go back in time and look up such remedies and find out why they actually work.

Sandra Cox said...

Won't it be wonderful if disease can be knocked out by broth.
Excellent info, Hilary.
Cheers,

T. Powell Coltrin said...

We DO need to be thankful. We are so blessed over and over again.

Kids taking their samples of broth to school, raised my eyebrows. :)

Teresa

Mark Koopmans said...

That picture of the parasite attacking the red blood cell gave me the heebie geebies... and like everyone else in the world I detest mosquitos, so wow to thinking outside the box and using easily made local soups as a possible cure!

PS: I'm curious to read your giggle-making story, but please *don't* rush or put yourself out! When it's ready, it'll be ready, as me Ma always says :)

Patsy said...

There does seem to be something magical about the healing properties of home made soup, no matter who makes it or what from.

JoAnne Macco said...

Nature has all we need if we can learn to understand her intelligence. Garlic and onions are known to have antibiotic, maybe anti-viral, too. It makes sense that indigenous plants would be healing.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Traditional remedies are ecofriendly and accessible, less harsh on our bodies too. But love soup anyway even without its magic cure-all comfort/soul food properties... Fascinating post as always.

Christine Rains said...

How wonderful to have the children to participate for possible solutions for the future. My husband has a West African Kale soup he loves to make. It's too spicy for me! Have a lovely week, Hilary.

Yolanda Renée said...

Hi, Hilary! Just me, trying to get back into the swing of things. It's been a crazy year, but it feels good to top it off with a new publication. Maybe things are settling down after all! :)

DMS said...

Sounds like an interesting study! I hope it leads to some of the students wanting to do science as a job in some way. Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I am so grateful for the medical advances we have but I also believe in chicken noodle soup for colds and flu. It really does something beneficial.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pradeep – I’m sure in India you will have lots of these remedies … which I hope are being recorded. You’re right modern science has been ignoring them … but it seems like people are paying more attention to early texts and possibilities of treating diseases using those natural remedies.

@ Sandra – it’d be amazing if we could find out how we can treat diseases more naturally … especially as we’re becoming immune to antibiotics. Glad you enjoyed the post.

@ Teresa – thanks … we do need to be thankful – and are blessed in so many ways. I agree the thought of the kids taking samples of their home-made broths to school really interested me, and then being involved in the research … made me post about it here.

@ Mark – I rather liked the picture of the parasite: so put it in to ‘horrify’ a few! The idea of finding a cure via ethnic broths is a great way to start thinking about other ways of finding remedies. Then of course the kids getting in on the research – is I feel sure bound to generate some scientists at some stage.

You know – I now have to remember what the stories were … they’ll come back to me I hope!!

@ Patsy – home-made soup is always delicious isn’t it … and at least mind-healing at the time of enjoying …

@ JoAnne – you’re right: nature can give us so much and make our lives easier … if only we could use our common sense. Let’s hope the exploration into nature’s healing plants continues on and expands …

@ Nila – lots of good points here … eco-friendly, accessible and less harsh on our bodies. I know soup is always good – I love cold ones too …

@ Christine – isn’t it a great idea involving the children who’ve brought in their broths from home. How interesting your hubby makes his West African kale soup … sounds delicious … dilute it a little with some sour cream, yoghurt or similar so you can enjoy it too …

@ Yolanda – hi ‘just me’!! Wonderful to see you back and around in the blogosphere. I’m pleased to read that it looks like life is settling down … all the best now and for the future … and that new book …

@ Jess – it does sound like an interesting study doesn’t it – I hope they keep us updated with the outcome/s and that some of the kids get interested in science: I expect they will.

@ Susan – we have made enormous medical advances … for which many of us are very grateful … but treating diseases more naturally can only benefit mankind, as you mention.

Thanks so much – lovely to see you … and this way of involving children early on seems to be such a sensible way of teaching … cheers Hilary

cleemckenzie said...

What an interesting study. I'd love to know what kind of data they finally come up with. Thanks for this Hilary.

H.R. Sinclair said...

I love that they got the students involved in the research process.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I hate mosquitoes. The good thing about homemade soup is the love that's put in by the person making it. Truly a fascinating post. Thanks, Hilary, and Merry Christmas!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee - I'll try and let everyone know when I find out more about their results and ongoing research ... but it's fun to know about ...

@ Holly - isn't it great ... I'm sure helping and being involved with the research will trigger their interest in research processes and the outcomes ...

@ Victoria - oh yes one mosquito is horrible! But as you say home-made soups are made with love for their family ... thanks for your Christmas wishes ...

Thanks to the three of you - great to see you here ... cheers Hilary