Checking out supply of bitter almonds

An August 28 comment from Alexander Tessier that true bitter almond is difficult to come by, but that apricot kernels are often referred to as bitter almonds, spurred me to go buy a whole 3-kilo-bag of co-hein from the Chinese drugstore. I had planned to have a friend translate the product info printed in green on the packaging for me. But as chance would have it, Ching Tay’s available stock, this time, came in a different packaging. APRICOT KERNELS NORTH SKIN was boldly printed on the front of a green and white bag. The nuts were not bitter! They opened several North Skin bags but all were the same: not at all bitter! The proprietress confirmed that there was no Chinese character for ‘bitter’ indicated in the packaging.

They asked for my contact numbers and promised to call as soon as bitter stock arrives. Laetrile, though, is available at the Navarro Medical Clinic.


Bitter Almond Nuts are a very rich source of Vitamin B17 and is Dr Efren Navarro’s suggested substitute when Laetrile capsules are out of stock. Available in Chinese drugstores in downtown Manila, the bitter almond nut, familiarly known as Co-Hein (pronounced co-heng), is light cream in color and comes in split halves. Dr. Navarro has cancer patients take 15-20 split halves of the bitter almond nuts after every meal. To help estimate the volume to buy at a time, I counted 750 split halves of varying sizes, plus broken pieces and slivers in 100 gms. Continue reading

Kamoteng Kahoy Tea must be FRESHLY prepared daily (updated)

Choose freshly harvested young roots, about 3-4 cm. Snap in two to make sure that meat is white without the slightest discoloration or brown veins.

Cut a 4-inch length, wash clean and dry, then scratch off brown skin using thumb nail only. DO NOT USE cassava with any brownish discoloration under the skin.

Slice, chop, and process in a blender for 2 minutes, then place the pulp in a wide-mouthed jar, add 2 cups (16 oz.) of distilled water.

For lack of a blender, use a grater to reduce the cassava to a pulp, add the 2 cups of water then vigorously beat with a fork for 2 minutes. Continue reading

Food sources rich in Vitamin B17 (Amygdalin)

Locally, cassava remains the best known source of Vitamin B17.

Tiesa comes a close second.  It is unfortunate though that most people find ripe tiesa bothersome to eat as it sticks to the roof of the mouth besides the fact that its distinctive ripe smell reminds one of a newborn baby’s poo (soiled diaper?).

Also high in Vitamin B17 are sampalok or tamarind, singkamas, duhat, luya or ginger, white and yellow, and patani or lima beans.

Though sampalok is seasonal here, tamarind from Malaysia are found in some of our fruit stalls and supermarkets all year round.  I snack on sampalok on an empty stomach, about 2-3 hours after a meal to maximize benefits of its VitB17 content.

Young (meaning small) and freshly harvested singkamas makes a sweet and crunchy snack by itself, and really smacking good when dipped, even better   marinated, in a concoction of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and sea salt, then seasoned with black pepper.

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Cassava: The Local Laetrile

Ms. A., my patient in New York City back in ’64, was a very conservative, single, Hispanic old lady who never thought to go see a doctor for the simple reason that to show her breasts, even to a lady doctor, was immodest, and unthinkable!  It was her sister who called us at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; the stench had became unbearable and nauseating.  When I first saw her at home, both breasts were cancerous.  She was hunched over a hospital over-bed table, unable to lie back.  Breathing was difficult with two hard and heavy mounds pressing down on her chest.  The left breast oozed pus and worms.  Dead tissue around the edges gave the stink of decay.  Inoperable, this patient lived with her cancerous breasts for a good 25 years; it was truly a miserable existence.  Laetrile would have made a huge difference for Ms.A.

The problem was, her doctors would have scoffed at Laetrile, pronounced a fake cancer cure by the FDA and therefore banned in the U.S..  Even in the ‘70s, it was still illegal in most states and Mama’s supply often had to be sourced from Tijuana, Mexico.

Luckily we have a local alternative to Laetrile: kamoteng kahoy or cassava.

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