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Vector control is a critical requirement in epidemic disease situations, as is an urgent need to

develop new and improved mosquito control methods that are economical and effective yet safe
for nontarget organisms and the environment. Mosquitoes transmit serious human diseases,
causing millions of deaths every year. Use of synthetic insecticides to control vector mosquitoes
has caused physiological resistance and adverse environmental effects in addition to high
operational cost. Insecticides of synthesized natural products for vector control have been a
priority in this area. In the present study, activity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) synthesized
using Euphorbia hirta (E. hirta) plant leaf extract against malarial vector Anopheles
stephensi (A. stephensi) was determined. Range of concentrations of synthesized AgNPs (3.125,
6.25, 12.5, 25, and 50 ppm) and methanol crude extract (50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 ppm) were
tested against larvae of A. stephensi. The synthesized AgNPs from E. hirta were highly toxic
than methanolic crude extract against malarial vector, A. stephensi. The synthesized AgNPs were
characterized by UV-vis spectrum, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray diffraction.
SEM analyses of the synthesized showed that AgNPs, measuring 3060 nm in size, were clearly
distinguishable. The synthesized AgNPs showed larvicidal effects after 24 h of exposure;
however, the highest larval mortality was found in the synthesized AgNPs against the first to
fourth instar larvae and pupae of values LC50 (10.14, 16.82, 21.51, and 27.89 ppm, respectively),
LC90 (31.98, 50.38, 60.09, and 69.94 ppm, respectively), and the LC50 and LC90 values of pupae of
34.52 and 79.76 ppm, respectively. Methanol extract exhibited the larval toxicity against the first
to fourth instar larvae and pupae of values LC50 (121.51, 145.40, 169.11, and 197.40 ppm,
respectively), LC90 (236.44, 293.75, 331.42, and 371.34 ppm, respectively), and the LC50 and
LC90 values of pupae of 219.15 and 396.70 ppm, respectively. No mortality was observed in the
control. These results suggest that synthesized silver nanoparticles are a rapid, eco-friendly, and
single-step approach; the AgNPs formed can be potential mosquito larvicidal agents.

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Tawa-tawa contains active ingredients that may
help dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patients
Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta), also known as gatas-gatas, is a hairy herb grown in open grasslands,
roadsides and pathways. This indigenous plant is considered as one of the most popular folkloric
treatment for dengue in the Philippines.

Intent on finding out the truth behind tawa-tawas curative properties, students of the University of
Sto Tomas (UST) Faculty of Pharmacy conducted a study entitled Investigation of the anti-
thrombocytopenic property of euphorbia hirta linn (Tawa-Tawa) decoction in rat models. The study
aimedtoverify the effects of tawa-tawa decoction to a dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) patient
showing a symptom of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count due to excessive bleeding).

In the study, the students used chloramphenicol, ethanol and heparin to induce thrombocytopenia on
rat models, mimicking dengue hemorrhagic fever. They administered tawa-tawa decoction to the
sample groups and collected blood samples to check for platelet count, bleeding time (duration of
bleeding), and blood clotting times in several stages of the experiment.

Results showed that platelet count increased by 47% depending on the drug used to induce
thrombocytopenia. Bleeding time was reduced up to 62% while blood clotting time decreased to 58%
compared to the control groups.

Based on the results, students concluded that administering tawa-tawa decoction to animal models
help improve their healing mechanism. Tawa-tawa was able to promote cell production, and prevents
platelet destruction. Likewise, the improvement in the cell bleeding time and clotting time provided
evidence that the indigenous plant can preserve and promote the hemostatic function of platelets.

The students also discovered phenolic compounds in tawa-tawa, active ingredients suspected to be
responsible in the increased platelet counts of tested animals. In an interview, Mr. Ryan Justin
Raynes, one of the student researchers saidthat through a phenolic determination assay, they were
able to identify minute phenolic compound in tawa-tawa samples. Although there were small
amount of phenolic compound in tawa-tawa, this was sufficient to exert effect promoting quality and
quantity of platelets, Mr. Raynes said.

Because of the studys significant findings, it won the first prize in the PCHRD Gruppo Medica
Award held during the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week held at Sofitel
Manila last 10 August 2012. PCHRD Gruppo Medica Award is given to undergraduate students
engaged in herbal medicine research that have potential for practical or commercial applications.