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Thailand: Bitter melon can’t cure cancer, cysts

Thailand: Bitter melon can’t cure cancer, cysts

Thailand's Department of Medical Services has dismissed the rumour that bitter melon, a tropical and subtropical vine widely grown in Asia, can cure cancers as well as tumours and cysts.

“There are only three ways to treat cancers – surgery, chemical treatment and radiation,” department director-general Dr Somsak Akksilp said.

“Bitter melon, or Momordica charantia, while being high in antioxidants that could prevent cancer, does not affect cancer itself and therefore cannot be used to treat cancer patients.

“There is also no conclusive proof that the vegetable is effective in treating tumours or cysts,” he said.

Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilise free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radicals might otherwise cause.

He added: “Also, do not believe the rumour that drinking water boiled with bitter melon can cure cancer, as using unconfirmed treatments may adversely affect the success chance of modern treatment.”

Meanwhile, National Cancer Institute director Dr Jinda Rojanamethin said: “Although herbal vegetables are generally good for your health, cancer patients, especially those under intense treatment, must control their diet and avoid eating too much of anything.”



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