For those who haven’t, let me tell you about his amazing story and why many Thais and foreigners from all over the world are lining up as early as 4 a.m. in front of his clinic to see this retired 92 year-old doctor.
Dr. Sommai made a name for himself for his herbal medicine which has been approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat inflammation of the lymph nodes; many believe this treatment can cure their illnesses like cancer.
“Even though I retired a long time ago, I still want to treat patients. I want to help them ease the pain of cancer and give them the courage to fight their diseases and hopefully extend their life”; these are the touching words of Dr. Sommai.
Dr. Sommai recently received the National Model Citizen Award in the Social Development field which was granted by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Dr. Sommai explains, “My herbal medicine doesn’t get rid of cancer but it simply allows patients to live longer. To fully get rid of cancer is hard to say. I have had patients with severe wounds on their legs and burning mouth ulcers, I’ve treated them and it progressively got better.”
One of Dr. Sommai’s patients is Simon Adrianuss from the Netherland who lives in Banglamung. Simon is 71 years old and suffers from cancer on his right leg and also has prostate cancer. He revealed, “I was admitted to a hospital in Holland. The doctor told me that they had to cut my right leg off because of the cancer. After I found that out, my condition got worse because I was depressed. I couldn’t eat and my right leg was aching badly. Deep down I didn’t want to have my leg cut off. One day, a friend of mind told me about Dr. Sommai so I decided to travel to Thailand because I believed in him and had nothing else to loose anyway. When I met Dr. Sommai he examined and assured me that my leg didn’t need to be cut off. Dr. Sommai gave me some medicine tablets and my illness got better gradually. Overtime, the wound from the cancer on my right leg healed and I was able to use my leg again. His fee was very cheap compared to other hospitals in which I have paid thousands and thousands of baht and received no improvements.”
When we asked Dr. Sommai why he decided to focus on Thai traditional herbal medicine he said, “I was always a medical doctor. In the past, the only treatment for cancer patients was either surgery or chemotherapy. It came to my realization that after the cancer patient received surgery or chemotherapy, they tend to not live very long. When I was studying, I experimented with herbal medicine on rats and rabbits and realized that Thai medicine has many great benefits. Then I decided to study herbal medicine seriously in hopes of being able to treat cancer patients. Though at that time I was working at Siriraj Hospital (where His Majesty the King is now) so I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to it.” 1
“In 1955, I was a director at Singburi Hospital so I had more time to study herbal medicine. In 1965, I came across one patient who said he had cancer but medical evidence doesn’t show that he had it. I was very confused so I asked him and he told me that he was taking herbal medicine. When I heard that I remembered it because it was within my interest,” he continued.
“In 1992, I came across one patient who was suffering from cancer. One of the hospitals in Bangkok told him that there was no cure or no treatment that would help him anymore, and for him to come and count the days until his death at home. The symptoms of this patient were very severe. He couldn’t move his mouth and he was drooling all the time with foul odor. There was also a big lump growing inside under his chin. So then I remembered this herbal medical that was I told about before and asked the patient if he wanted to try it. When the patient agreed I contacted the patient I came across in 1965 and asked for the ingredients.”
“The owner of this herbal medicine gave me enough ingredients to make four pots in which one pot can last about 15 days. The owner taught me how to boil the medicine from scratch. Everyday I would drip this medicine into the patients’ mouth and told him not to take any other medicine. To everyone’s surprise, the patient regained movements in his mouth and stopped drooling. The lump shrank and I told him that he needed surgery to cut the rest of the lump off but the patient was Chinese and he didn’t believe in surgery and he passed away eight months after,” Dr. Sommai explains in details.
“After that case, I realize the power of this herbal medicine and asked for the owner’s permission to produce the medicine myself so I could treat patients from my own home. Mr. Chum Wongkasaemrat is the owner of this herbal medicine. He was 100 years old at the time and was in a very good health condition. He can read clearly without the use of glasses. When I went to his house, his wife told me that all he would do all day is boil medicine and that he was working on a ‘never-age’ medicine. I asked him for the ingredients for that as well,” he continued.
Mr. Chum passed away when he was 102 years old. The result of his death was from a car accident and not from any diseases or due to old age. Dr. Sommai said that if he didn’t get hit by a car he would have lived longer. As for the ‘never-age’ medicine Dr. Sommai said amusingly that he lost the ingredients when he was moving house.
After a while Dr. Sommai became better known for the herbal medicine and many patients gathered to see him.
Another one of his patients is Robert Pruce from the United States who is residing in Pattaya. Robert suffers from lung cancer and was receiving treatment from a hospital in Malaysia. He wasn’t getting better and decided to come see Dr. Sommai from a friend’s recommendation. Robert said, “After I took the medicine, overtime, I wasn’t coughing anymore and I could eat again. At the moment the cancer has shrunken. It hasn’t gone away but for it to reduce I was really happy. The cost is very cheap, only 45,000 baht per visit which is nothing compared to what I paid in Malaysia. I am very impressed.”
As for Dr. Sommai’s son, Adsawin Thongprasert, he proudly said, “My father really loves his job. On our days off we would make plans to go out but if we open the door and there is a patient then he would cancel all his plans and see the patient. He is so happy when he sees patients getting better.”
Dr. Sommai added, “There are three types of cancer; one I would compare to a burglar. This kind would attack in a surprise way; there are no symptoms and no signs. The second one is what I would refer to as ‘worse than the worst’. For this kind, no matter how hard doctors try to catch it, it would escape and seep through your bloodstream and never stop. The third kind I would compare it as dust. It spreads all over your body and no matter how hard you try to dust it off you can never fully get rid of it.”
Dr. Sommai concluded, “I will continue to treat patients until I am not capable anymore.”
Dr. Sommai’s clinic is located in Angthong province about four hours away from Pattaya. The clinic is open from 6am but the main door opens at around 5am for patients to create a profile and conduct primary examinations. Patients are advised to bring in their medical documents from the hospitals they have visited. For those who cannot travel to the clinic, Dr. Sommai can also come see the patient at their home. There is no closing time for the clinic. Dr. Sommai closes the clinic when he finishes treating the final patient in which some days could be 11pm.
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