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Then I got up and walked into my grandfather's room where he lay. I looked at his still form, breathing mechanically. I touched his arm, and then a thought came to me. Did my grandfather need to die really. Had we done enough to save his life. Did he realize he was about to die anyway. I tried to imagine myself in his situation. Momentarily, I was engulfed by sudden fear. Slot machines jackpots vegas I remembered. To overcome fear, you should always act as if it were impossible to fail. One thing I knew for certain was that the inner battles that a dying person wages within himself are numerous.

Yes. the fears of death and suffering are common. But did we need to die - without even attempting to do something about it. I had an idea. Yes. drugs derived from medicinal plants still formed the basis for rural medical care in my country - and this was largely due to lack of modern medical facilities. In practice, most of these drugs offered effective treatment. And in my village homeopathists and traditional healers were brand names in health care delivery, including my own family. And all of us had one slot machines jackpots vegas in common. Our purpose was never really to bid acceptance of our medicine, nor did we ever try to match African indigenous medicine with Western allopathic medicine; but rather to share an experience whose aim was to dispel the distrust that had long been caused by negative prejudices while we assisted in solving the problem of public health.

Although there was an apparent analogy in the medicinal conceptions of the two systems of health care - the African indigenous and the European exotic system - it was also true that the philosophy that underlay them was different. One was a result of an analytical method of reasoning and of experimentation, and the other was a result of a systematic method of intuition and empiricism. Yet the importance of intuition and empiricism in Africa as a sure means of locating new and useful tropical plant compounds can never be overlooked. Most of the secondary plant compounds employed in modern medicine today were first "discovered" through such means. The rosy periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus or Slot machines jackpots vegas rosea) represents a classic example of the importance of plants used traditionally by mankind.

This herbaceous plant, native to South-eastern Madagascar, was a source of over 75 alkaloids, two of which (vincristine slot machines jackpots vegas vinblastine) are used to treat childhood leukemia and Hodgkin's disease with significant success. The use of quinine from Cinchona bark to cure clinical malaria today owes its use by Peruvian Indians in the 17th century who employed crude extracts from the Cinchona trees to cure malaria. These are but only a few of what modern medicine owes to ethnobotanical treasures. So what was I going to do.

Did I need any more convincing. I thought of Vernonia amygdalina. This was a commonly found Asteraceous plant in our area, belonging to the subfamily Vernonieae; and we called it "Omubilizi" in our vernacular. It is indigenous in tropical and subtropical Africa, and its use in traditional medicine in our locality ranged from treating hepatitis, cardiac problems, poisoning of any kind, malaria, stomach pains, snakebites and eczema. It was in many instances said to have antitumor and cytotoxic effects, and it was an antiviral agent too.

Detailed studies of its therapeutic activity had long shown that flavonoids and vernolides were the active principles in its extracts. Quercetine flavonoids, 3-methylaquercetine and rutine inhibited platelet aggregation and reduced lipoxygenase and cycloxygenase activities, and had considerable cardiovascular effect. Vernolide had very strong antiparasitic action, especially against Entamoeba histolitica at the same level as antiparasitics used clinically, such as metronidazole or tinidazole. 3-methoxyquercetine and 3,3'-dimethoxyquercetine had very important antiviral activity which was shown even at concentrations as low as 10 nanogrammes.

These substances had a selective effect, since they prevented formation of viral proteins without interfering with the metabolism of the host cell. They were especially active against the polio virus, the coxcachie virus, the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), the Rhino virus, and against other viruses of African origin. The importance of this plant in antiviral chemotherapy was thus obvious -especially since even in more developed Western medicine, there was no such preparation with slot machines jackpots vegas effect. The family of products isolated from this plant, therefore, allowed us to foresee further laboratory research with some hope of success in treating other groups of viruses, such as retroviruses.

In one instance, some scientist demonstrated inhibition of reverse transcriptase of encornavirus by some flavonols of vegetable origin. This plant was hardly toxic and grew spontaneously jn many locations of our village. Its varied activity, very obvious in antiviral chemotherapy; and its occasional application by traditional healers in our locality on patients for cytotoxic treatment of certain tumors and cancers, prompted me to seriously consider trying it on the old man. I had seen my step-grandmother use it to arrest a confirmed oesophageal epithelium hyperplasia in a young woman in the neighbourhood, and she was still alive today.

If it didn't work; well, I had nothing to lose - except grandfather's dear life. I gathered courage and collected enough flowers of Vernonia amygladina and dried them in the shade to avoid destruction of the active ingredients by the direct heat of the tropical sun. I then ground the dried flowers into a fine powder; I prepared an aqueous suspension of the powder in a small wooden motor, and added enough water to make about half a litre of a concentrated extract.