One of the most common vector-borne diseases, malaria can prove to be fatal if not taken care of properly. Transmitted by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito, malaria is associated with high grade fever. To fight against the same, a recent study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, has shed light on the consumption of homemade soups. For the treatment of fever, soup recipes have been passed down through the generations. The researchers from Imperial College London with school children test their traditional family soup broth recipes that originated from countries in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
They showed activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, either by curbing its growth or preventing it from maturing.
"Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year and infects more than 200 million, yet resistance to our frontline drugs continues to emerge," said study lead researcher Jake Baum, Professor at Imperial College London, in UK.
"We may have to look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs, and natural remedies shouldn't be off our watch list," Baum added.
The broths were vegetarian and chicken-based, with no particular ingredient common to those with the strongest anti-malarial activity. The recipes varied for each of the broths. Filtered extracts of the broths were then tested against two stages of the parasite: when it can infect mosquitoes, and when it can cause the disease in humans.
As per the findings of the study, five of the broths were able to curb growth of the parasite in its disease. Other than this, four other broths were more than 50 per cent effective at blocking the ability of the parasites to mature to a form that infects mosquitoes, potentially blocking the process of transmission.
The active ingredients in the broths studied are yet to be identified and tested, the study said.
"It's really interesting to find potential routes for future drug development in something like your grandmother's soup," Baum added.