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A number of US soldiers fighting in Iraq have become afflicted with a horrible disease called leishmaniasis (leesh-mun-eye-ah-sis). They get it from the bite of a sand-fly which injects a parasite into their bloodstream. The “cutaneous” version of the disease causes huge, ghastly, and painful boils on the face and other areas of the skin – thus the name, Baghdad Boils. The “visceral” version destroys the liver and other internal organs and can be fatal.

Here’s a video clip from a TV news story on: Baghdad Boils .

Compounding the problem is that the treatment seems worse than the cure. It’s a 20-day therapy of being injected with sodium stibogluconate (commercial names: Pentostam or Stibanate), which can leave every joint in your body with screaming pain, plus give you unending blow-your-head-off migraines.

There is some very recent research which indicates a way to greatly increase the effectiveness of the antileishmanial drug therapy while greatly decreasing its painful side effects. If you have any friends in the military, know of any soldier suffering from this affliction, or know any soldier serving in Iraq who may be at risk from sand-fly bites, you may want to make them aware of this.

It involves the use of a common bioflavanoid called quercetin. Bioflavanoids are natural pigments in fruits and vegetables and widely used as dietary health supplements. Quercetin is found in the skins of apples and red onions. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, thus it’s a very popular nutritional preventative of arthritis, coronary heart disease, and cancer.

Quercetin, taken orally, evidently blocks the replication of the leishmanial parasite’s DNA so it can’t replicate. Combining it with the regular antileishmanial drug Pentostam/Stibanate was significantly more effective that the drug alone, according to the research in the link above.

Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties should also provide relief from the joint and migraine pain caused by Pentostam/Stibanate. Scaling up from the experiment on lab animals suggests a regimen of 200 mg. of quercetin with each meal and at bedtime (4xday).

Baghdad Boil sufferers might also consider mixing quercetin powder with water into a paste, and applying it topically to the boils.

Quercetin is cheap, safe, and widely available. Its overall health benefits are very substantial, as discussed in this article in Life Extension. I’ve told my friends at the Pentagon about this – but I thought you should know as well.