"So if my mother or grandmother tells me they will give me this tea and it will make me better. Someone comes along saying, 'Oh, that was just a hawk, I'll give you real medicine,'" what is the difference?" asked Baum, who is a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London.
"We thought the difference was proof: If you take a natural medicine and try it and it works, then now it's also a cure," Baum said. "So we came up with the soup project. We asked the children to bring in the traditional soup their family would make when someone was not feeling well. ”
Sixty soups arrived, all incredibly diverse. The children from Eden Elementary School, who Braum Gillie's son and daughter Rudy attend, care for families from all over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
They were all supposed to be vegetarian, meat or chicken broth based soups that the family had passed on through the generations for their restorative properties.
"Kids bought in the most luxurious soups, even though we told them not to," Baum said. "The idea was to try to get some clear extract from it."
Working with children, Baum successfully filters 56 of the soups he takes back to the lab to check for healing properties.
What would be the test? Why malaria, of course, since that's Baum's job. He and his team at Imperial College's Department of Life Sciences study the most deadly malaria parasite, called P. falciparum, responsible for 99% of malaria deaths.
Nearly half a million children die each year from malaria transmitted by infected mosquitoes, Baum says. Most are under the age of five.