Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mosquito Soldier

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this gigantic mosquitoish thing was the recent article about genetically altered mosquitoes in the fight against malaria.

For millions of people suffering from the scourge of malaria, anything to fight this disease is probably welcome news. I am always uncomfortable when people tinker with the nature, but malaria resistant mosquitoes are probably a million times better than the use of DDT!

One can only hope that these mosquitoes are only released after extensive and conclusive studies and tests. We have all heard of bizarre failures before. Used tires to build fish habitat ended up choking it instead. Toxic toad introduced in Australia to fight sugar pests ended up destroying native species. There are many more of these sad experiments. I can go on and on.

Neem has long been an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. It is called Sarva Roga Nivarini (curer of all ailments). Studies have shown that Neem has several anti malarial properties. Could Neem offer a better way out?

My point is this. Learn from nature not experiment with it. As folks at Biomimicry put it, let nature be the mentor.

Quote of the day
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."~John Muir []


Anand said...

Your quote at the end of the post say s it all. Nature created everything the way it is for a reason. I don't think it is wise to meddle with it at all.

They say Tulsi (Holy Basil) repels mosquitoes. And Neem was widely used as a pesticide in farms. I myself had used it effectively in my vegetable garden years ago.

This reminds me of my friend who is a cancer biologist. I joked he should try turmeric on his rats and he agreed and said, but we can't patent, so we can't spend money researching it.

As a matter of fact someone did patent a turmeric based product and then India had to fight to repeal it by proving that we've always used in our cooking for the same reasons.

Riot said...

How did you use Neem in your vegetable garden? Grind up the leaves, add to water and sprinkle ?

Anand said...

Yup, actually use dry Neem leaves as organic manure and grind green leaves and add a cup of kerosene and sprinkle all over the plant...with the pulp and everything. Now I don't know why Kerosene. But that's how my great grandma taught me :)

Riot said...


Kerosene ? That is a surprise! Won't that make it conventional farming rather than organic farming ?

Anil P said...

Neem was always potent. I'm not sure how much India itself has explored its potential.