Readers beware! If you swallowed a santol seed, the first crucial information is whether it’s the local or the Bangkok santol variety. If it’s from Bangkok, then the trip along your gut would be more exciting. You see, Bangkok seeds are much bigger, about 3 centimeters in length with sharper pointed edges.
If you’re lucky, the fleshy seed will pass down your pharynx, then the esophagus and reach the stomach. In the gut, it will incubate for about 3 hours as the outer fibrous covering is digested and stripped away.
From here on, it’s a matter of luck. Having a bare santol seed in your gut is like carrying a bare knife in your pocket that can cut through your trousers anytime.
Once ejected by the stomach, the sharper and deadlier seed or seeds now travel through the narrower and lengthy portions of your small intestines and then the large bowels.
If you’re young and healthy, those seeds may pass through without harm. But if you’re older and have some form of abnormality in your intestines, then it could easily get stuck, leading to an obstruction. The sharp edges may even perforate your bowels leading to infection and death.
In the Philippines, it is estimated that 200 cases of surgical emergencies from swallowed santol seeds are seen yearly at our hospitals. Dr. Reynaldo O. Joson, chair of the Department of Surgery at Ospital ng Maynila, has been educating the public on the dangers of this seemingly harmless fruit.
Dr. Joson says that if the patient dillydallies in consulting a doctor, then death can occur in 30-50% of cases. In the Ospital ng Maynila alone, several cases were operated on recently. This makes the delicious santol fruit a public health problem.
A perforated gut will cause dirty feces to spill into one’s abdominal cavity. And since the stools are ridden with bacteria, these may easily infect the body and seep into the blood stream. This is what is known as sepsis or blood infection, and can quickly lead to death.
For this reason, doctors too must be keen in asking patients with abdominal pain if they have touched any forbidden fruit lately.
What about other seeds? Is it safe to swallow tomato seeds or guava seeds? It’s much smaller, but can they lead to appendicitis instead? According to Dr. Joson, there are not enough data to say that such seeds cause appendicitis, injury or death.
Tomato and guava seeds are very small, without sharp ends, and are therefore practically harmless. As you can see, it’s really about size and shape of things and the tortuous passage through one’s gut. One thing’s for sure, don’t attempt to swallow a mango seed.
So if you and your co-workers are binging on a hearty meal of mouth-watering santol, tell them that it’s alright to eat the fruit. You can even treat it like a candy and extract as much juice as you can. But please, don’t swallow the killer seeds. It might be your last.—Source: By Dr. Willie T. Ong