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Dengue fever's alleged backyard cure, the lowly camote [sweet potato] tips, is once again resurrected with the advent of the rainy season and the outbreak of rising incidence of dengue being bannered in the media.

The dengue fever cure is a soup resulting from boiling the topmost leaves of sweet potato plants for five minutes, with a little sprinkling of salt to give it some flavor. Dengue patients are then made to drink the concoction gradually, which is alleged to restore their health back to normal the following day.

The controversy surrounding this alternative cure for dengue fever had its roots from an email message which circulated in the internet a few years back. The message relates the story of Mr. Bernardo Rocha Calibo, Region 7 Director of the National Police Commission. He claims to have personally contacted and talked with Engr. Lita Budiogan and businessman Nepomuceno Salaga, whose respective daughters got dramatically cured by the sweet potato brew. The story drew brickbats from certain quarters. Some even labeled it as a hoax.

The sweet potato soup as a dengue fever antidote got featured in a top rated daily TV news program, probably due to the alarming increase in the number of dengue cases compared to the previous year. In the news feature was an interview with a Department of Health official wherein he stated that there is no study to support the purported claim about this dengue cure.

Can it be concluded then, with finality, that said dengue fever cure is not true, simply because there is no study to support it? How about the claim of Director Calibo, and the persons whose experiences were the bases of his claim? These people are real and traceable. I also found a website belonging to Dr. Charity Viado-Gorospe, an oncologist-internist and director of St. Luke's Cancer Institute, where said dengue cure was also featured. Will these people stake their reputations for something that is indefensible? And what would they gain from it?

It would have been a more prudent had the health official suggested that a study can be conducted to corroborate the claim, rather than dismissing it outright. Let's conduct a clinical trial to put this issue to rest once and for all. What are they afraid of? Maybe they fear that if the dengue fever's backyard cure is proven true, it will dent the pockets and bank accounts of doctors and hospitals. Maybe....just maybe. 

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