Sea cucumber is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a number of health problems, including fatigue, impotence and joint pain. Sea cucumber contains high levels of chondroitin sulfate, a major component of cartilage.
My mil can whip up really delish sea cucumber dishes. Her sea cucumber dishes are usually braised with pork or chicken, mushrooms, clams and chicken feet.
Sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine for centuries – even as an aphrodisiac. The reported health benefits of sea cucumber, however, are what attract the most interest in the U.S., although research into its the possible benefits of sea cucumber and their extract is preliminary. Consult with your doctor before taking any products made from these sea-dwelling creatures, of which some species have spikes on them.
Sea cucumber is relatively low in calories — each 6-ounce portion contains 95 calories, or approximately 5 percent of the daily calorie intake in a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Most of its calories come from its protein content, and each serving of sea cucumber contains 22 grams of protein. As a result of its protein content, sea cucumber helps you fight off infection, maintains healthy muscles and strengthens your skin and cartilage. Sea cucumber serves as a lean source of protein, because 6 ounces of sea cucumber contains less than a gram of fat.
“They’re not only anti-viral, anti-bacterial but sea cucumbers have been used to treat gingivitis and gum disease, “ Ty M. Bollinger, author of “Cancer: Step Outside the Box,” told Fox News.
The sea animal, which resembles a large, spiky caterpillar, is used as an adjunct treatment for those undergoing chemotherapy because it’s very effective at mitigating the side effects of the cancer treatment, Bollinger said.
Chemotherapy is an immunosuppressive set of drugs so it kills the cancer cells but in the meantime it kills your immune system. The properties of sea cucumber that are so fascinating is that it makes your immune system run at the perfect speed. That’s why it’s so effective as an adjunct treatment as well as a treatment in and of itself if people decide to use sea cucumber.
Besides being immunomodulatory, sea cucumber is cytotoxic, meaning it kills cancer cells.
Sea cucumber, while long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is not well known in Western medicine— even though it’s been studied for the last 15 years— because most oncologists use chemotherapy, radiation, and therapy as their primary cancer treatments.
Sea cucumber can be cooked and eaten, as the Chinese do, or dried, made into a powder and packed into capsules to take in pill form.
One of the fascinating things about sea cucumbers also is that it is very high in chondroitin sulfate, which you’re familiar with to treat joint pain and arthritis. Sea cucumber has the highest concentration of chondroitin sulfate of any animal. It is used very effectively for joint pain and arthritic pain.
Health Benefits of Sea Cucumbers:
Improving Gum Disease
Though the study was preliminary, a toothpaste made with sea cucumber extract was shown to improve healing in patients who had undergone treatment for gum disease. The toothpaste was formulated to take advantage of the sea cucumber’s wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which have been recognized both in traditional healing modalities and by modern researchers. The study, reported in the “Journal of Oral Science”, involved 28 volunteers who either brushed their teeth with sea cucumber toothpaste or with a toothpaste that was identical except for the extract. By the end of the three-month trial, patients who had gotten the sea cucumber toothpaste who used the sea cucumber toothpaste experienced a significant in bleeding, swelling and the depth of periodontal pockets when compared to the control group.
Although sea cucumbers may be an unusual food, they can provide a valuable protein boost for those who need it. According to Subhuti Dharmananda, Director of the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon, sea cucumbers are higher in protein than almost any other food, except for egg whites. The Harvard School of Public Health states that people in the United States might reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by boosting their intake of protein, especially if the protein replaces refined carbohydrates in your diet. Sea cucumbers are available at Asian grocery stores.
Eating sea cucumber or its extracts may have therapeutic effects such as speeding up wound healing. It does so by facilitating the formation of new tissues within a short time — a property that is believed to stem from the ability of a sea cucumber to regenerate its own body tissues quickly when it is injured. According to the October 2011 “Marine Drugs” study, this is believed to be facilitated by certain fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, present in sea cucumber.
Cancer Prevention Potential
Eating sea cucumber may help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. This is because sea cucumbers contain high amounts of compounds known as triterpene glycosides, which have antitumor activity. According to a study by Chinese scientists published in August 2005 in “Cancer Biology & Therapy,” sea cucumbers also contain a compound known as philinopside E, or PE. PE inhibits the formation of blood vessels that supply nutrients to tumors. This suppresses the growth and proliferation of such tumors in your body.