Papaya Leaf Tea

There are many food, herbal, and medicinal supplements thought to be effective in improving the body’s immune system, curbing the growth of cancer, and negating the side effects of chemo and radiation.  Emily had been taking L-glutamine, for example, based on a number of studies demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing the ghastly esophagus pain associated with radiation, and it was a godsend.

While in New York, Emily and Miles visited with an expert in Integrative and Complimentary medicine (differing from Alternative Medicine in that it is used in conjunction with, not in lieu of, traditional cancer treatments). They were able to discuss the efficacy of supplements that had been recommended to them and learn about others.

Since Emily’s diagnosis, many people have suggested supplements used to treat lung cancer in their native lands.  One such generous man is Hien Nguyen, who works with Miles’ father, Rich.  Hien mentioned to Rich that the Vietnamese drink papaya leaf tea to treat lung cancer, and that he personally has two friends with lung cancer who have consumed the tea for more than 10 years and attribute their survival in part to the tea.  Hien said if Emily was receptive to the Asian remedy, he would find a way to deliver it.

Emily, a tea lover anyway, said she would definitely give it a try.  This is the path that keeps Emily supplied with a steady delivery of papaya leaf tea:

Nha Trang

Hien contacts his friend Hai Tho Phan in Houston, Texas. Hai communicates with his relatives in Vietnam who own papaya trees. This lovely woman in Nha Trang (who dressed especially for this U.S. blog photo) picks the leaves from this papaya tree for Emily.

The Herb

This is the shipment as it makes its way through customs (and has yet to be confiscated).

Hien and Rich

Hien delivers it to Rich at SBA in Sacramento.

Rich to Emily

Rich takes it and brews up the tea for Emily, who drinks several flavorful cups every day.