Dec 25, 2012

Vietnam - People flock to Khanh Hoa to hunt for panacea

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VietNamNet Bridge – After the Central Herbal Medicine Institute stated that the sample of xao tam phan (Paramignya trimera) found in Hon Heo mountain of Khanh Hoa province can inhibit the development of five types of cancer cells, people have been rushing there to look for panacea.

It is estimated that hundreds of people flock to the locality every day to seek to purchase the herb. Local residents have given up their jobs to go to the mountain hunting for the miraculous tree.

Danh, one of them, said that he and the other men digging the earth for the tree are all fishermen, who have always been with the trips to the open sea. However, they have decided to give up the trips to hunt down for the precious trees, which can bring them more money than the fishes.

People have been digging everywhere they can to look for xao tam phan roots. A large vegetation cover has been ravaged which is now looks like a gold exploitation site.

Nguyen Van Hung from Ninh Hoa commune was seen digging a young tree. “No more big trees any more. Only small young trees have been left. Each of them can be sold for 7000 dong,” he explained.

After spending hours on Hon Heo, no one found big trees. Some men found small trees, about one-span long only. People whispered in each other’s ears that xao tam phan trees all have been taken away to be sold to the rich which would process them into a kind of wonderful medicine which can treat cancer.

However, no one can say for sure if the young trees found by the men were really xao tam phan. A local resident said some other trees look like xao tam phan and it was very difficult to tell the differences between them. In fact, the diggers are the fishermen who are keen on fishing only.

Nguyen Van Vuong, a local man, confirmed that there are many kinds of trees which look like xao tam phan, including the one named “cay vu bo.” No one would discover the truth if the root and the tree trunk of cay vu bo are mixed with xao tam phan.

Vuong said in the past, no one thought of picking the trees for sale. However, as xao tam phan has become “famous,” all kinds of similar trees have been picked for sale.

Xao tam phan prices have been skyrocketing. A lot of local people have taken a new job: they collect xao tam phan roots from diggers and distribute them. The roots were sold at 200,000 dong per kilo last month, but the price has jumped to 800,000 dong.

“If you don’t buy them right now, you would have to pay 1 million dong for a kilo in some more days,” one of distributors warned.

Meanwhile, Tra Thi Bong Sen, Chair of the Ninh Van People’s Committee, affirmed that the xao tam phan roots available here are all the roots carried from other provinces, because the trees in the locality have got depleted due to the overexploitation.

It is estimated that one ton of xao tam phan is brought there to the distributors, and the same amount of xao tam phan is carried away to other provinces as Hon Heo’s xao tam phan products.

While people rush to hunt for xao tam phan, competent agencies still keep quiet. Documents say xao tam phan have been found in Binh Duong, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces.

The Central Herbal Medicine Institute has confirmed that it found flavonoid, saponin, alcaoid, courmarin and triterpenoid in xao tam phan. The experiments on white house mousse show that the elements can help inhibit acute hepatitis and help kill five types of cancer cells. However, no official conclusion has been made about the effects of the tree roots on humans.

Thien Nhien

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