Cancer Institute encourages use of herbs to complement treatment


The Cancer Institute of Guyana has joined with the Ministry of Agriculture to promote the use of plants to complement other treatments of cancer.

The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday donated Soursop and Moringa plants to cancer patients –two plants which contribute to the fight against cancerous cells in the body.

The plants were distributed as part of the Ministry’s GRAIN-H programme known as ‘Guyana Re-aligning Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health.’

The programme was launched as part of the Ministry’s Month of activities which also coincides with Breast Cancer awareness month.

Dr Simpson DaSilva, a representative of the Ministry of Public Health, in explaining the benefits of the plants, said that the leaves of the Soursop plant have the same potential as chemotherapy to treat cancers and is “ten thousand times more powerful than a lot of things.”

Dr Simpson DaSilva

“So this Soursop leaf is a super food to prevent, control and help with the treatment so that when you going through radiation…then it produces some special elements that help to destroy the effects or mitigate… the damages,” Dr DaSilva told those gathered at the Cancer Institute’s building located in the compound of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

As it relates to Moringa or what is commonly known as “Saijan”, Dr DaSilva said the plant contains nine of the essential amino acids which are important for the human system. This, he said, is important since the drugs used during chemotherapy can wreak havoc on the immune system.

“It treats approximately 301 different types of diseases according to the ayurveda medicine,” he added.

Dr Sayan Chakraborty, Medical Director and Radiation Oncologist at the Cancer Institute of Guyana

The Cancer Institute has previously warned against the reliance on herbs for treatment, however, Radiation Oncologist, Dr Sayan Chakraborty told the News Room that the use of plant-based materials is encouraged to complement the medical treatment.

“We are not encouraging to leave the conventional treatment of chemotherapy or radiation,” he emphasized.

Dr Chakraborty explained that “Getting distracted with herbal medicine or bush medicine is different than using the herbal medicine or plant medicine as an adjunctive treatment along with the conventional main course treatment of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and so on and so forth.”

The plants were handed over by Minister with responsibility for rural affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood and staff of the Ministry.

She noted that during Agriculture Month, the Ministry is working to promote healthy living through the use of more fruits and vegetables. This she said can help to curb various Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).


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