Sea Cucumber, Food n Medicine

The Pacific sea cucumbers (Stichopus Holothurioidea species and other family members) of the revered Chinese cooks since ancient days. In particular, the sea cucumber dishes for special occasions, mainly in New Year’s Eve celebrations. An old Confucian recipe, loosely translated  The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea  and made of sea cucumber, shark fins, and five species of fish and shellfish, is one of the classic banquet dishes. The sea cucumber is assessed as well as other delicacies such as shark fins is Ginseng, Cordyceps, Tremella, and disease preventive and longevity tonic. This was the agent of medical in the Bencao Congxin (New Compilation of Materia Medica) of the Wu Yiluo 1757. The popular Chinese name for sea cucumber is haishen, which means, roughly, ginseng of the sea. Often known in the medical literature fangcishen (fang = four-sided, ci = spiky, referring to the spiky protrusions that emanate four sides), or in abbreviated form, fangshen.

The Asian demand for sea cucumber is so high that it gathered in the United States and other countries (eg Australia, the Philippines) that passend will be quoted. The Atlantic sea cucumber, Cucumaria frondosa, collected primarily in the food, but recent studies from medical, side through the efforts of the Coast of Maine Organic Resources, led by Peter Collin.

Kiszerelésébol and use of sea cucumber

To prepare the sea cucumber gather after the internal organs removed and washed the dirt and sand in the cavity. Then boiled in salted water and dried in the air to preserve. When ready to take the food, the hard, dried sea cucumber softened. The process is quite lengthy, so that the food tends to appear in the special dinners and parties rather than the day-to-day kitchen. To soften the dried sea cucumber in the instructions: Place the sea cucumbers in a bowl and add cold water to cover, at least 12 hours per week, and cook over low heat for 1-2 hours, add more water if necessary that the water is always covered with the cucumber, remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then drain.

A nutritional point of view of the sea cucumber is ideal for a refreshing meal. The higher protein (55%) than most other foods other than protein (99%) and 10-16% materials used for cartilage mucopolysaccharides. Sea cucumber less fat than most other foods.

Sea Cucumber as a food supplement

In modern medical terms, a valuable source of sea cucumbers of different materials can serve as natural health products, and drugs may be developed. As the sea cucumber food is a very small segment of the population outside East Asia, most people have no access to its beneficial components. Thus, the desired sea cucumber extract and simply consume formats, such as capsules (hard and soft gelatin) and pills.

Sea cucumbers, cartilage provides a rich source of mucopolysaccharides point body, mainly chondroitin sulfate, which is known for its ability to reduce arthritis pain, particularly osteoarthritis only 3 grams per day of dried sea cucumber is also useful for significantly reducing arthralgia. Measure is similar to chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, chondroitin is the main building blocks.

Chondroitin blocks, which left the chemical layout shows a building block that can be repeated several times, this is really a glucose molecule (left potion) and glucosamine molecule (right panel), which has been sulfated (O3S, above). This block is illustrated on the right side in a three-dimensional representation.

Long-chain sulfated polysaccharides such as chondroitin can inhibit the virus, there is a Japanese patent sea cucumber chondroitin sulfate for HIV therapy based on this operation, and other sulfated polysaccharides in the seaweed has a patented anti-herpes viruses. Chondroitin can be obtained in commercial quantities of bovine trachea or shark cartilage (including sharks), while glucosamine sulfate from shrimp and crab shells. These compounds are also found in deer antler, which is not practical because of the rarity and resource extraction costs, but it is likely that glucosamine and chondroitin is a key supporter of the healing of deer antlers.

Russian, Japanese and Chinese studies indicate that sea cucumbers also saponins (triterpene glycosides) files. These compounds are similar to the structure of the active ingredient of ginseng, ganoderma, and other famous tonic herbs. Pharmacological studies show inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of sea cucumber saponins.

One of the sea cucumber saponins, representatives of the structures normally found in these organisms.

In addition, the sea cucumber oil contains two inflammatory fractions. A fraction of these fatty acids are characteristic of the fish, it can be used as a substitute for fish oil reduces inflammation by-products of fat metabolism and feed the brain and heart. The main components of the interest in fish oils EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid is found in the sea cucumber, and DHA (docosahaenoic acid), which is unique to the fish:

Stereochemical representations of EPA (left) and DHA (right). The double bond locations are different, resulting in further deflection of the structures

The second fraction a mixture of branched-chain fatty acids, mainly 12-MTA (methyltetradecanoic acid). This compound, and the more widely studied variant, 13-MTA, the 5-LOX inhibitors (lypoxygenase) enzyme system. 5-LOX inhibitors are one of the most important areas of modern drug development, the plans for the use of compounds in the treatment of asthma, ulcerative colitis, and arthritis. In addition, the cancer-inhibitory effect was observed in preliminary studies in prostate cancer cell lines and other human cancer cells These fatty acids are thought to be produced by bacteria that live in the sea cucumbers, they are also produced by bacteria in other marine organisms such as sponge and tunicates.

For example, branched fatty acids found in marine organisms. The key fob is a simple carbohydrate. These long chains can interact with cell membranes

Illustrated in a Chinese medical book and photographed Stichopus chloronotus, often as  “green fish”  (top row)Thelenota and pineapple, as often  “pineapple sea cucumber”  (bottom row).

Source from :


by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon


Enchin Zhang (Editor), Chinese Medical Diet, 1988 Publishing House of Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai.

Weici Tang, Chinese medicinal materials from the sea, Summary of Chinese Medicine 1987; 1 (4): 571-600.

Peiying Yang, et al, Inhibition of proliferation of PC3 cells by branched-chain fatty acid, 12-MTA with inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase, Prostate is 2003, 55: 281-291.

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