we offer you an interesting and debatable article written by Daniel Edgar. We invite you to share your opinion on this topic in the comments section.
As the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic and related health, social and economic crises continues to climb, the contribution that certain herbal medicines might be able to make to reinforce the global campaign against coronavirus remains largely neglected as State decision makers, pharmaceutical companies and medical and scientific practitioners and researchers in almost all countries focus all of their efforts on experimental vaccines and newly developed allopathic medicines to the exclusion of other alternatives. On numerous occasions reports of herbal medicines that might be effective against the coronavirus have been casually and disdainfully dismissed as unproven, unlikely or being ‘false news’, without even the slightest effort being made to verify whether they are effective or not and if so how they can be incorporated into an integrated response to the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 outbreak spread and intensified last year, I only paid passing attention to the reports of its progress and speculation as to the source and nature of the virus and the race to find effective treatments and vaccines. Too many conflicting accounts of what was happening, too many experts expressing very different interpretations as to specific developments, and no way to determine the veracity of the contradictory claims and assertions.
After the pandemic arrived to the region where I live (Tumaco, on the Pacific coast of Colombia) I began to hear accounts from friends that they, their family or friends were using the leaves of a local medicinal plant to combat the infection (Gliricidia sepium, locally the plant is called ‘matarraton’). As time passed the accounts multiplied, and I began actively making inquiries of other people to get a better idea of how widespread the use of the medicinal plant as a treatment for COVID was and of the results.
The more I began to inquire, the more accounts I found, and the conclusion among all those who have tried the treatment has been the same: the leaves of the plant are very effective as a treatment for COVID, and also appear to prevent infection in the first place.
After several months I was increasingly convinced that we have a safe, natural cure for COVID, but I realized that the greatest obstacle to its availability to people outside the region was the lack of scientifically verified evidence as to the treatment method and the condition of the patients throughout the procedure.
As a first step, I contacted several embassies to inform them of the possible effectiveness of matarraton as a treatment for COVID and asking them if researchers from their country might be interested in investigating the treatment method.
I took this as a starting point because around the same time I had invited the Korean embassy (from the south, the northern part of Korea doesn’t have an embassy in Colombia) to send a delegation to the Tumaco region to meet with representatives from some of the communities here to explore the possibility of elaborating some projects and activities to reinforce and provide some concrete links between the peace processes in the two countries. I thought the prospect of investigating the possibility of an existing safe, natural, effective treatment for what was rapidly becoming the worst calamity in modern times might be an additional incentive.
I also informed the Japanese, Russian and Chinese embassies, as the neighbouring countries of Korea which also have a huge stake in the success of the peace process on the Korean peninsula, with the added bonus that they also have immense scientific and technological expertise. My communications seem to have left them more perplexed than anything, and perhaps more than a little dubious given the rampant hysteria, claims and counter-claims surrounding anything to do with the pandemic.
During my research, I had heard of several medical practitioners and traditional healers in the Tumaco region who were applying the treatment to COVID patients, and after several more months I had the good fortune to meet two of them (Dr Jésus Rosero Ruano and Dr Héctor Antonio Angulo, as described in an earlier report). This was around the same time as a new outbreak of COVID had arrived to the region, and some of the people I spoke to expressed doubts as to whether the matarraton treatment was effective against the new strain. However, both Jésus Rosero and Héctor Angulo assured me that all of the people they had treated in accordance with the prescribed method continued to respond favourably to the treatment within a very short period of time.
I also found a summary of an exploratory study that was conducted a bit over 12 years ago by several medical and scientific researchers from one of the regional universities (Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, located in the provincial capital Pasto). The study investigated the treatment of Dengue by a traditional healer with the leaves of matarraton: a summary of the study was published in 2010. Although the findings were of a preliminary nature, the results of the treatment were excellent. (A copy of the summary is available in Spanish HERE, and in English HERE).
I was convinced, and I remain convinced, that this is exactly the type of study we need now as a first step to begin to verify and investigate the treatment of COVID with the plant (monitoring the condition of voluntary ambulatory patients throughout the course of treatment). Preliminary results as to the effectiveness or otherwise of the treatment could be obtained within a matter of weeks, which would then provide the basis for further studies.
I proceeded to formulate a letter to send to scientific and medical research institutes and health authorities (as well as a variety of community organizations and professional associations) in Colombia and elsewhere (matarraton is widely available throughout the Americas, Asia and some parts of Africa) to inform them of the likely existence of an effective and low risk treatment for COVID and inviting and requesting them to initiate or participate in joint formal studies to investigate the possibility. While there have been some positive responses, as yet no one with the authority to do so has been interested in initiating a formal study.
The use of matarraton as a treatment for COVID has been well known for over a year, it was widely reported in the national media in Colombia around August of last year. Almost all of the news agencies that covered the matter denounced the announcement of a possible cure for COVID as ‘false news’ (described in the previous report), quoting a selection of Establishment scientific and medical experts to the effect that there is no official evidence that the matarraton treatment can cure COVID, that the World Health Organization hasn’t listed it as a prescribed treatment, etc.
Not one of them expressed the slightest interest in studying the treatment method to verify once and for all its effectiveness and limitations in specific conditions and for different types of cases. There are several traditional healers and medical practitioners in Tumaco that are prepared to cooperate in formal studies of the treatment method if there is ever any interest in proceeding, and they know numerous others who could also be invited to participate.
Trying to find a research institute that would be willing to cooperate with the medical practitioners and traditional healers in Tumaco has been extremely exasperating. There is a strong institutional and cultural bias in almost all Colombian institutions and sectors of society in favour of Western culture, science and technology and against Afro-Colombian and Indigenous cultures, science and knowledge (discussed in more detail in a forthcoming article). In the country which according to some estimates hosts the second highest level of plant diversity on the planet, there is not even one well-established natural medicine research institute.
So many people dying every day from the pandemic and associated complications, and it gets harder and harder to avoid the conclusion that many health authorities and Establishment scientists and medical practitioners (not to mention the financial-corporate pharmaceutical combines that employ or fund most of them) don’t want a cure for COVID. Many people in Tumaco agree with this conclusion – ‘no les conviene’ (it is not convenient for them), the existence of a widely and freely available natural remedy that the pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize and control.
More recently I have found reports of another medicinal plant which has been used by some people in Colombia as a treatment for COVID, also with very encouraging results. In August of last year the medicinal plant ‘moringa’ (Moringa oleifera, originally from India) was mentioned by some media outlets as a possible cure for COVID. According to one of the reports at the time (original in Spanish, translated by the author):
It turned out that, faced with the very limited variety of options to help people recover from the coronavirus, a group of guards from the National Penitentiary and Prisons Institute (Inpec) at the prison in Villavicencio decided to bet on the medicinal plant, which they gave to the prisoners and the guards… 20 prisons in the country have now used the moringa infusion as a treatment for COVID-19…
The results appear to be encouraging as, according to what we were told by one of the guards, after distributing the infusion of moringa mixed with lemon and raw sugar in the prisons the number of positive COVID cases passed from 900 to 0. Is it possible? …
According to immunologist Jose Vicente Silva, there are still no studies suggesting that the treatment is effective… “Moringa has been used for many things and it appears that it is effective for the treatment of some illnesses”. However, he also referred to the scientific evidence that for every 100 people only 2 develop severe symptoms from COVID-19, adding: “With or without moringa the number of deaths will continue to be low, this is why it is necessary to do more studies”… LINK
The complete lack of interest of the health authorities and official medical and scientific institutions in conducting investigations into the possibility of a cure for COVID is stupefying. And somewhat terrifying. As the country continues to be ravaged by the worst health crisis in modern history, it begs the question: what the hell ARE they doing? How is it that they can’t find the time between them to dedicate one or two laboratories and research teams to investigate the considerable evidence (albeit preliminary and unofficial, of course, given that none of the officials will pull their heads out of their arses long enough to authorize an official study) that there is at least one, and possibly two, very effective and very safe natural remedies for COVID in Colombia.
And there are reports of another medicinal plant, this time in Thailand, which has also demonstrated very promising results in preliminary trials investigating its potential as a treatment for COVID. As in Colombia, an unfolding disaster in the country’s prisons was the catalyst for a hasty, improvised ‘real world’ trial. And as in Colombia, the results of the treatment proved to be excellent.
However, unlike in Colombia, in Thailand the treatment has received official interest and support, and clinical studies are underway to investigate the effectiveness of the treatment and its possible limitations. Maybe you have heard of this? Is it not something that should have made headlines around the world? There is a real possibility that in Thailand there is a herbal medicine that is quite effective at curing COVID, the cause of the world’s biggest health, social and economic crisis in modern times!!!
In June 2021 media from Thailand reported:
The National Drug Development Committee, headed by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, has issued an announcement to add Fah Talai Jone [Andrographis paniculate, also commonly called green chiretta] to the national essential herbal medicine list, paving the way for its use in COVID-19 patients who are suffering mild symptoms…
The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine and Thai traditional medicine practitioners have long been fighting for the Ministry of Public Health to recognize that the herb can ease some COVID-19 symptoms.
The department claims that clinical trials of the drug show it is efficacious in people infected with the virus. The department’s effort to have the herbal medicine formally recognized has, however, met with stiff resistance from what it calls ‘western-trained’ physicians, claiming that there is no scientific proof about the benefit the drug in the fight against COVID-19… LINK
In October, a follow up report published at Asia Times added further details:
[Faced with] an emergency situation, the Thai Corrections Department gave the herbal remedy to 11,800 inmates with mild symptoms of upper respiratory infections and now claims that 99% of them recovered, prompting the Thai Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation to recommend that asymptomatic patients take 180mg of chiretta a day, divided into three doses at mealtimes.
As far as we know, full data for this intervention has not been released to the international scientific community and details of the study are sparse.
In Thailand, a randomized controlled trial with just over 3,000 participants is comparing chiretta extract (containing 20mg of andrographolide per capsule, for a total of 180mg per day, dosing into three capsules taken before each meal for five days) with ‘standard care’ in people with asymptomatic Covid.
The main outcome the researchers are investigating is how many people in each group end up in hospital within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. The trial is expected to be complete in May 2022…
A small trial at Tbilisi State Medical University in Georgia is testing a combination of chiretta and Siberian ginseng extract for treating mild Covid symptoms. The results are also expected in early 2022… LINK
One would think that with thousands more people dying from the virus around the world with every day that passes, countries would be lining up to send research teams to follow the studies and maybe even obtain quantities of the prospective remedy to carry out preliminary trials with voluntary patients in their own countries.
That the World Health Organization might dispatch a mobile laboratory and team of experts to investigate, in transparent and mutually beneficial cooperation with other international and regional public international organizations, and to verify the effectiveness and limitations of the treatment method and report on the results.
And that the results would be followed by the media with considerable interest, if not quite as obsessively as they breathlessly report on progress in the latest corporate vaccine development (and the actions and pronouncements of their associated health and regulatory agencies – with the revolving doors that operate between the companies and the regulatory agencies and the degree to which associated verification studies and other regulatory functions are outsourced to the companies, if it difficult to tell where some of the regulatory agencies end and where the companies begin).
If the treatments with herbal medicines turn out to be even partially successful, if they were investigated as a matter of urgency and incorporated into clinical studies in some of the countries where hundreds of people are dying every day, many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives might be saved, and over time millions more severe illnesses might be prevented. Surely we must investigate every possible remedy for the coronavirus, as a matter of utmost urgency?
Another report, discussing developments in China, notes that Traditional Chinese Medicine has been thoroughly incorporated into the country’s COVID response strategy. Maybe this is one of the factors that explains how China has been so successful in minimizing the number of fatalities caused by the virus? LINK
This is not to suggest that all research into vaccines should be suspended and all resources diverted into herbal medicine research. Not at all. Given the huge toll in human lives we must investigate and develop as many alternatives as we possibly can in order to develop an integrated response based on all available resources and options. But can’t they devote even one or two research laboratories and teams of scientific and medical researchers to investigate the natural remedies?
The decision makers and regulators in most countries remain completely obsessed with the vaccines, to the extent that in very few places have they even considered investigating other methods of combatting the virus. This institutional and cultural bias and obsession with high tech experimental vaccines to the exclusion of everything else also saturates and controls the course of media coverage.
Whenever there is a report claiming that a herbal medicine is or might be effective against COVID-19, most media outlets either ignore them or routinely trundle out their Establishment medical and scientific experts who duly assert that the results are entirely inconclusive and unconvincing, that most people would recover anyway, that the WHO has not approved their use for the prevention or treatment of COVID, etc.
However, when discussing the ‘vaccines’, most of these same ‘experts’ insist that we must submit to the ‘warp-speed’, ‘emergency authorization’ mass-vaccination program without delay, that if we do not do so we are not only endangering ourselves, but that we are being selfish, reckless and placing the lives of others at risk.
The institutional and corporate bias against conducting further investigations of herbal medicines that have shown positive results in preliminary studies as a matter of utmost urgency is disturbing, and may have substantially increased the number of victims that has resulted.
Postscript: if any of the readers are interested in investigating the treatment method in Colombia with matarraton, or know of a research centre that could be interested in participating in a joint study, the author can be contacted via South Front.
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