Medicinal kits being offered by a CHamoru women’s group that claims to provide a treatment for COVID-19 symptoms will be subject to a compliance review by the Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health.
Last week, I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhan issued a news release announcing they had received a grant from the indigenous Pawanka Fund to provide assistance to CHamoru women and families during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The organization says they’re focusing their efforts on CHamoru women and families because they are the most vulnerable at this time with limited resources to provide for their needs.
The assistance includes the distribution of face masks and home garden kits to CHamoru women and their families to develop backyard gardens to help feed their families.
“In the spirit of social care and responsibility” I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhan says it has turned to “traditional CHamoru cultural practices and holistic healing remedies” in an effort to aid our community in the threat and uncertainty of COVID-19.”
The kits are said to include 12 ounces of lodigao cha, 4 ounces of ilang-ilang, and mangu’ salves.
Hope Cristobal, a Saina and member of I Hagan Famalåo’an Guåhan, told the Pacific News Center: “We never claimed that we have a treatment for COVID 19. We only claim to treat the symptoms.”
“It’s herbal medicine,” said Cristobal, “which has been used for centuries.”
In response to a request for comment, Public Health Director Linda DeNorcey advised that if these items claim to provide a treatment for COVID-19, that would make them a drug.
And she said there is no evidence that Famalåo’an Guåhan has registered their establishment as a drug manufacturer or listed the åmot CHamoru kit as an approved drug product with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
DeNorcey, in her response, went on to say that the Division of Environmental Health has contacted Famalåo’an Guåhan, but a compliance review cannot be conducted because the åmot kits have not been put together yet.
However, the organization advised DeNorcey that the Suruhanus would address the packaging and claims of the åmot kits once they were ready for distribution.