According to World Health Organization estimates, nearly 300 million people around the world suffer from asthma, with nearly 10% of the global population diagnosed with this lifelong respiratory disease. In the United States, around 70% of asthmatics also have allergies to pollen and certain foods, especially dairy, with the annual economic cost of asthma reaching US$20 billion in medical and indirect costs, with prescription drugs representing the largest single direct medical expenditure at US$6 billion. Every year, nearly 250,000 people die from asthma related complications.
There is currently no known medical cure for asthma, with asthmatics enduring a continuous management regime of steroids, inhalers and nebulizers to help reduce its symptoms. But an 11 year old Australian boy begs to differ with medical science, and claims that a traditional Fijian remedy for asthma has cured him, with no relapse for the past 12 months since he underwent an incredibly moving and traditional Fijian ritual. At the age of five, Tanner Blessington from Sydney’s north shore in Australia contracted the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) at the start of winter and ended up being hospitalized and treated with intravenous fluids and ventolin immediately. RSV is a major cause of respiratory illness across all ages in nearly every country, but school-aged children are particularly susceptible during colder months as colds and flu spread and place their immune systems under enormous pressure. RSV was first discovered in 1956 and since been recognized by the medical profession as one of the most common causes of childhood illnesses.
The Blessington family visit Fiji every year for holidays but on one visit they learned from a Fijian working at one of the resorts that his mother claimed to have the gift to cure asthma. Tanner’s mother, Leanne, just shrugged the comment off as a Fijian myth but remained curious for another two years, when by a second chance meeting, she met the same man. Still curious but acutely aware that it might just be a scam for money, she decided to take the next step and meet this mysterious mother. In pouring rain, the Blessington’s took a taxi to the local village to meet the man’s wife and three children. His elderly mother came straight up to Tanner and said that she had a dream that he was coming to see her. After a few hours of pleasantries, Leanne and husband Adrian were asked to leave the room, so that the elderly women could concentrate on helping young Tanner. With night approaching and still raining, the men of the family went to climb a nuidamu coconut tree to retrieve an orange-red coconut, and to get a medicinal tree root. Without any safety equipment, one of the men climbed a tall palm tree, carefully removed a few coconuts, tied a rope around each bundle and gently lowered them to the ground. Nuidamu coconuts are highly respected in traditional medicine and the utmost care was taken not to let them hit the ground.