Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kidney patients to avoid star-fruits

There is a Chinese saying that even if you live to a hundred, you would still be able to learn of new things, or something like that.

Recently, a 66-year-old Malaysian gentleman on a visit to Shenzhen fell into a coma after eating star-fruits. Two others have died after eating the fruit. This news is truly disturbing as star-fruits are common in this part of the world too and there has not been any reported incident of death of its consumption. What then is the reason for this scare?

It was found that Star fruit can be toxic for kidney patients. The deceased was a kidney patient and had been undergoing dialysis. The article stated that All it takes is one fruit or 100ml of juice and the ordinarily harmless star fruit becomes poison in a matter of hours for kidney patients.

“The public must be alert to reactions to star fruit. Look out for initial symptoms including hiccups, numbness and weakness and neurological symptoms including confusion, agitation and epileptic fits,” warned a consultant nephrologist Prof Dr Tan Si-Yen.

Star-fruit is known in the west as carambola. To quote Wikipedia, The carambola is a species of tree native to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka and is popular throughout Southeast Asia, Trinidad, Malaysia and parts of East Asia. It is also grown in Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru, Ghana, Guyana, Samoa, Tonga, Taiwan, French Polynesia, Costa Rica and Australia. Carambola is commercially grown in the United States in south Florida and Hawaii. It is closely related to the bilimbi.

This bilimbi is sometimes used in cooking for its sourness. It is also eaten as a fruit though not many is able to stomach it as it is extremely sour. It can actually give you a kick.


  1. I read the article in The Star too.. Pretty amazing! Such an eye opener..

  2. Hi, Happy,

    I guess there must be more tests to confirm that star fruits could be toxic for kidney patients..
    the 'bilimbi' is a must as ingredient for fried sambal prawns!

  3. LB, indeed. Scary in a way that we consume all kinds of food not knowing the damage they might do.

    Hi Joe, I guess. But the truth of the matter is, nothing is totally bad nor totally good. Do I make sense? It must be the weekend. lol

  4. and yes, that bilimbi adds the zing, don't they? I like them fresh from the tree, when they are ripe (yellow rather than green).