Tawa-tawa a local name in the Philippines, english name Snake Weed, scientific name euphorbia hirta. Tawa-tawa is a slender-stemmed, hairy, much branched herb. The leaves are opposite, lanceolate, toothed along the margin. The flowers are very small, in dense round clusters, in the axils of the leaves. Seeds are tiny, reddish, oblong, in capsules, with a wrinkled surface. They are odorless and bitter. It usually grows in waste spaces like lawns, roadsides, pathways. It grows up to 40cm and contains relatively abundant white latex.
A number of substances have been detected in this plant including, among other things, tannins, gallic acid, quercetin, phenols, phyto-sterols, alcohols, and alkaloids.
Did you know that Tawa-tawa can help save lives of dengue patients, even those in stage four, because it has antiviral and antibacterial components.
So, what in tawa-tawa that makes it an agent in the treatment of dengue? Actually, tawa-tawa does not fight dengue virus. Instead, it promotes the development of blood platelets and softens the effect of the dengue virus. Tawa-tawa has natural enzymes within that stabilize the membranes of the blood vessels, preventing internal bleeding.
According to Arlene May G. Corpus, RND, MBA, in her article "Tawa-tawa is no laughing Matter" in Health and Home, said that to prepare tawa-tawa as medicinal plant to dengue fever patient is through decoction. Here's how:
- Take 5-6 full whole tawa-tawa plants.
- Cut off the roots and set aside.
- Wash the remaining stalks thoroughly.
- Slow-boil tawa-tawa stalks in a pot of water for 1 minute.
- Cool tawa-tawa water.
- Let dengue patient drink 1 to 1.5 glasses of tawa-tawa water every hour. Let this be his water for 24 hours.
Despite Tawa-tawa has medicinal benefits, it must be taken under a physicians guidance while there are no known interactions with other drugs, it is advisable not be used in large doses as it may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting, and also pregnant women should not take tawa-tawa.