Ballina resident Don Ellison believes he was able to cure his diabetes with a plant he found in Thailand by eating the roots and leaves.
Ballina resident Don Ellison believes he was able to cure his diabetes with a plant he found in Thailand by eating the roots and leaves. Marc Stapelberg

How this plant changed a Ballina man's life

ONE Ballina man believes he has found the cure of diabetes and says "it's about time" for Australian doctors and researchers to do something with it.

Don Ellison said he was on his death bed when he was diagnosed with type two diabetes 15 years ago.

"I had been in very intensive care in hospital and had totally passed out five times because of my diabetes," Mr Ellison said.

"They said I was within half-an-hour to an hour of dying, if I hadn't gotten into emergency."

After his diagnosis, Mr Ellison was prescribed four insulin injections a day to keep his immune system from attacking itself.

That was until he discovered the effects of eating and drinking Rhinacanthus nasutus, or as it is more commonly known, snake jasmine.

While on a research assignment in Thailand, Mr Ellison and his good friend Ross Mackinnon discovered the herb, which is known for its antioxidant properties.

"We were having lunch with a good friend, we noticed he was eating some unusual leaves with his salad," Mr Ellison said.

"He had been told that the Rhinacanthus plant in the mountain above Chiang Mai would cure many ailments including diabetes."

"He ate the leaves' stems and roots for some months and it cured his diabetes."

Following this man's success, Mr Ellison decided to give it a go for himself and arranged to have some plants imported to Australia through his horticultural business into Carol Newman's quarantine house.

"His advice for dosage was two heaped tablespoons a day in a mug, adding half a teaspoon of honey and a green teabag if it helped the taste," Mr Ellison said.

"I did this for three months and I did not need insulin (ever again) as my blood prick test was always above five and six."

Mr Ellison is no stranger to the benefits of plants on the human body, having exported thousands to over a hundred countries for medical research.

"Some successes include one type of Leukaemia cured with Gloria Superba which is a semi-weed on Stradbroke Island and two types of Eucalyptus used to help with asthma in Japan when the cherry trees are in flower," he said.

The Australian Government recognised Mr Ellison's export achievements in 1980 when his family company Ellison Horticultural PTY LTD was awarded Australian Exporter of the Year over 619 other exporters.

As part of the 2018 National Diabetes Week, Mr Ellison wants scientists and medical professionals in Australia to do their own research and get these herbs out there for people who need them.

"I'd like to get Southern Cross University to take it on," Mr Ellison said.

"I will supply them with as many plants as they want, free of charge so they can do the research."

With an estimated half a million people having undiagnosed type two diabetes, Diabetes Australia's "It's About Time" campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and early treatment for all types of diabetes.

If you are concerned you may have diabetes, please seek the advice of your general practitioner and get tested.

National Diabetes Week will run until the July 14, 2018.

Diabetes Australia, the Northern NSW local health district and Southern Cross University were contacted but were unavailable for comment.

Snake Jasmine facts

A herb native to Thailand and South East Asia   

  •  Stands 1-2m tall 
  •  Leaves are 4-10cm long
  •  Known for its antioxidant properties 
  •  Has been used to treat numerous diseases such as eczema, herpes, pulmonary tuberculosis, hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, and different types of skin diseases
  •  Research has shown that it has high potential to treat a number of neuro-degenerative diseases.

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