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Extracts from the Mexican poppy found in Mali have been found to treat malaria.

The Mexican poppy © Shutterstock
The Mexican poppy

A survey of people in Mali into the traditional recipes and plant species used to treat malaria has found the Mexican poppy was associated with the best outcome for patients who had taken it. While the oil from the seeds is highly toxic, the leaves and stems once boiled create a tea that is used with some success in Mali to treat the illness, which affected a suspected 2.17m people in 2012 (WHO).

Dr Merlin Willcox, a GP and clinical researcher from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences talks to BBC Radio 4 Health Check about his research trip to Mali, where he worked with healers and local communities to apply a scientific method to investigate just how effective this treatment is compared with conventional remedies.

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