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When the standard malaria medications failed to help 18 critically ill patients, the attending physician in a Congo clinic acted under the “compassionate use” doctrine and prescribed a not-yet-approved malaria therapy made only from the dried leaves of the Artemisia annua plant. In just five days, all 18 people fully recovered. 

Details of the cases are documented in the paper “Artemisia annua dried leaf tablets treated malaria resistant to ACT and i.v. artesunate: case reports” by an international team lead by Pamela Weathers, PhD, professor of biology and biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), who has pioneered the use of dried leaves of Artemisia annua (DLA) as a malaria therapy.

“To our knowledge, this is the first report of dried-leaf Artemisia annua controlling ACT-resistant malaria in humans,” the authors of the Phytomedicine paper note, adding that more comprehensive clinical trials on patients with drug-resistant malaria are warranted.

“Successful treatment of all 18 ACT-resistant cases suggests that DLA should be rapidly incorporated into the antimalarial regimen for Africa,” they added, “and possibly wherever else ACT resistance has emerged.” wpi.edu
A white oak tree that has watched over a New Jersey community and a church for hundreds of years began its final bow Monday as crews began its removal and residents fondly remembered the go-to spot for formal photos, landmark for driving directions and the remarkable piece of natural history.

Crews at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards began taking down the 600-year-old tree that was declared dead after it began showing rot and weakness over the last couple of years.

The two to three days of chopping and pulling will draw attention from residents of a bedroom community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of New York and other tree fans who see it as a chance to bid a final farewell to their close friend.

"I know it seems funny to some to mourn a tree, but I'm really going to miss seeing it," said Bernards resident Monica Evans, recalling family photos during weddings and communions.

The tree has been an important part of the community since the town's inception in the 1700s. Officials say it was the site of a picnic Gen. George Washington held with the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Rev. George Whitefield, a noted evangelist, preached to more than 3,000 people beneath the tree in 1740.

Arborists say the tree had stood for nearly 300 years before the church was built in 1717. It stands about 100 feet tall, has a trunk circumference of 18 feet and has a branch spread of roughly 150 feet. Officials say the crews plan to initially remove the large limb segments until there is a large trunk section still standing, then remove that section in one piece. go.com
While moringa, native to parts of Africa and Asia, has been utilized as food and medicine for thousands of years, its true impact has barely scratched the surface. It's being considered a "superfood" for those who consume it and also for those that grow and sell it. And that has researchers excited. 

Moringa leaves are ridiculously amazing. They are tiny but pack a punch, containing more vitamin A than carrots, more protein than eggs, more calcium than milk, and more iron than spinach. Moringa has a bitter taste, similar to green tea, and it's a good source of energy.

While the benefits of the plant are still being studied, advocates say it has potential as an anti-inflammatory and that it can help diabetic patients lower their glucose levels. It can also help new moms with milk production, and its seeds are said to produce one of nature’s finest cosmetic oils for hair and skin care. The list of its benefits goes on.

The fast-growing and drought-resistant tree thrives in the exact locations that have high malnutrition and poverty rates in parts of western Africa, southern Asia, and South America. Encouraging more local consumption and sustainably spreading it globally, it might be the way out for many struggling families. upworthy.com
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Permanent Secretary Wijarn Simachaya said in a seminar on topic of forests in cities and sustainability that the ministry is now pursuing its 20-year plan to increase green areas by 40 percent, compared to its current 32 percent.

He said the MNRE is encouraging the creation of forest in cities complementing the green areas in the country, which will help absorb air pollution in big cities, while Bangkok has had substandard green areas. 

With a ration of three square meters of green area per capita, Thailand ranks below its neighbors such as Singapore which has 66 square meters of green area per capita, and Malaysia which has 44 square meters. 

Department of Environment Quality Promotion Director-General Sakol Tinagul has said all sides should join hands to increase green areas, starting from small sectors such as households, communities, and organizations which can plant more trees, and create green offices with trees which can provide shade and moisture to the city. prd.go.th