Greek health ministry rejects olive cancer cure

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olive leavesThe Greek health ministry has moved to curb what it called "ridiculous behaviour" following reports that a wonder-cure for cancer had been found in olive leaf extract.

"No systematic clinical study exists ... to prove the usefulness of olive leaf or fruit extract (against cancer)," the ministry said in a statement, warning patients against straying from their prescribed medication.

The statement came after several TV chat shows last week hosted self-styled therapists claiming that olive leaves mixed in water had curative properties against the illness.

A few days later, grocers on the island of Crete began stocking raw leaves, and two brothers in the Peloponnese had a fatal argument over whether to administer the "olive frappe" to an ailing sibling.

Even in the leafy Athens suburb of Kifissia, people have been spotted raiding olive trees which could be covered in pesticides, warned deputy health minister Thanassis Yiannopoulos.

"This ridiculous behaviour must stop ... people should trust scientists," Yiannopoulos told private Flash Radio.

"The dietary benefits of olive oil have been documented, but there is no study (pertaining to cancer) anywhere in the world," he said, adding that Greek media have been warned against broadcasting "scientifically baseless" information.

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse

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