Philippines’ trial on world’s 1st herbal anti-dengue capsule nears completion

Philippines' trial herbal anti-dengue capsule
Anti-dengue capsules developed by Pharmalytics Corporation containing ingredients from locally available plants—tawa-tawa, banaba, and luya.
Photo from DOST-PCHRD

The Philippines’ clinical trial on the locally developed herbal anti-dengue capsule, the first of its kind, is nearing completion.

The first anti-dengue medicine in the world was developed by Dr. Rita Grace Alvero and her team in partnership with the De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in Cavite and with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and first presented in 2020.

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The Dengue Herbal Drug Clinical Trial costs nearly PHP 12 million and is being implemented by Pharmalytics Corporation with funding from the DOST- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study—which is being conducted in Cavite—aims to determine the efficacy and safety of an herbal capsule when taken orally by adults with dengue fever showing no warning signs.

The new drug is made from three herbs endemic to the Philippines. Each fixed-dose capsule combines the ability of tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) and banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) to increase platelet count with the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties of luya (Zingiber officinale).

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection whose incidence has been steadily increasing in tropical countries, particularly in the Philippines where it is considered one of the top health problems.

Once proven safe and effective, the herbal capsule will be the first definitive treatment for dengue. It could pave the way for use in cases showing warning signs and even in severe types.

On the economic side, farmers can benefit from cultivating any of the three medicinal plants, the increased demand for which may come from local pharmaceutical companies that could manufacture the treatment for domestic and even overseas markets.

Interested parties may contact Dr. Josefino Alvero, president of Pharmalytics Corporation, through email at

The Tuklas Lunas program trial on herbal anti-dengue capsule is one of the technologies and innovations that will be presented in the Big 21 in 2021 launch on 7 September 2021, 10:00AM, to be broadcast live at the DOST-Philippines Facebook page.

Other anti-dengue innovations include the University of the Philippines-developed Lab-in-a-Mug cheaper and faster Dengue Test Kit and Filipino inventor Lyle Herbosa’s mosquito-killing agent to stop dengue.

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