(Source: CathNews India – www.cathnewsindia.com)
Beena Chirackal, SCN, is attending as a result of her impressive work in rehabilitating children of commercial sex workers.
Anjana Kunnath, SCN, claims to have found a successful herbal cure for malaria in Artemisia, a family of plants and herbs that includes tarragon and wormwood.
“I am attending the UN General Assembly to share the success stories of people who were cured of malaria with Artemisia [a herbal extract],” said Sister Anjana.
Sister Anjana’s success story started three years ago. The north-east region of India, where she works, receives a large amount of rainfall and has large areas of marshland, making it a mosquito paradise.
“I had been using other local herbs to treat malaria [caused by the anopheles mosquito] but realized that Artemisia was more powerful in cure and prevention,” the 55-year-old sister said.
Sister Anjana who has worked for 20 years in the eastern states of Bihar and Jharkhand, treated over 250 malaria cases in 2011 with the herbal extract.
“When I had an attack of malaria last year, I took Artemisia and I was well in three days,” she said with a smile. She recalls many instances where she has administered either a tonic or pills made from the herb to people who had come to her health center. Once a 35-year-old man from Kutuderi in Jharkhand suffering from acute malaria was given Artemisia and was back to normal in two days.
“After I treat people, I generally offer them an Artemisia plant so that they can use its leaves which have the healing properties,” she said, revealing it was a Jesuit priest who introduced her to the herb in 2008.
A year later, she attended a workshop on herbal remedies conducted by a German pharmacologist, Hans-Martin Hirt, who was promoting Artemisia. Because the variety of the herb is very expensive, Hirt tracked down the patent-holders of the actual plants in Germany, and began to get seeds for distribution in Africa and India, she said.
Sister Anjana said malaria reduces hemoglobin levels in the blood, while Artemisia counters this decrease and increases the body’s immune system. The response of people to the herb is mixed, she says. Many want quick results in which case I mix both the allopathic medicine and the herbal treatment, she adds.
“I would very much like government health centers to recommend the herb as an alternative to allopathic medicines to treat malaria,” she said.
The Charity Federation of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth is a registered NGO in the US and has an advisory role at the UN.