The best cure for many ailments is always in our natural surroundings—plants. And, you would be hard-pressed to find a fruit with such a magical wand as durian. Yet it remains a mystery. A mystery because here is a plant that has been with humans since time immemorial, enjoyed for millions of years by natives of India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, among other south-east Asian countries, without an inkling to its medical wonders.
For instance, Palita Subasinghe, a Sri Lankan, says in response to one of the stories about Durian. “We in Sri Lanka have been eating this fruit, probably for centuries, not knowing that it is a cure for cancer. However, I have been told that our Ayurvedic doctors are incorporating it in their decoctions for cancer cure. I have used it very successfully for getting rid of urinary stones.”
But first things first.
Durian is like a smaller version of jack fruit (ffene). It has a hard outer husk covered with sharp, prickly thorns. The colour of the husk is green to brown. Its shape ranges from oval to round.
The size of the fruit can be as large as 30 centimetres and weighs one to three kilogrammes. Its flesh is pale-yellow, which tastes as a mixture of banana, butterscotch, vanilla, peach, pineapple, strawberry and almond with a surprising twist of garlic.
The durian is a Graviola tree tropical in origin.
A hit in a WordWeb, a computer dictionary, returned the meaning: “Huge fruit native to southeastern Asia ‘smelling like Hell and tasting like Heaven.’
Now that is some description, huh? And it holds. Durian emits a pungent odour even when the husk is intact that some people reject it solely on that reason. But to others, the fruit’s smell is a pleasantly sweet fragrance. But the fruit is delicious, soft, succulent and very popular for its unique characteristics. It’s widely referred to as the “king of fruits” in the south-East Asian countries.
In Rwanda, it is rarely grown but in some parts like Nyamata, and Gitarama are grown. The Asian communities across East Africa are known to grow the Durian. For instance, at a Catholic Parish in Uganda where one of Healthy Times’ team members served as an altar boy, durian trees were planted in the gardens.
The medical wonder fruit
Medical research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be possible to:
Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss
Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections
Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment
Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life
Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer.
The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug.
Unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells, it does not harm healthy cells.
Several online sources indicate that extracts from durian tree effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer.
However, Dr Fidel Rubagumya, from Butaro Cancer Centre, while admitting that durian contains antioxidants that has given rise to the wide belief that they can prevent cancers, there is no proven evidence so far to back up the claims.
“There are some studies that have been done to investigate whether the antioxidants really can be used as primary prevention for cancers. So far, nine studies that have been done but they all conclude with no evidence of these antioxidants being primary prevention for cancer, so basically there no results yet,” Dr Rubagumya says.
He says the antioxidants can prevent several diseases in the body but that most of the antioxidants that are used to heal cancers are chemically purified and not derived from the foods directly.
Alexis Mucumbitsi, the in-charge of nutrition at the Ministry of Health, says all the antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress on the organs of the body are bonuses to the immune system, and durian is packed with them, including vitamin-C, vitamin-B complex, and vitamin E, as well as phytonutrients that battle cancerous cells.