Silkworms have long been associated with mankind. It is a common fact that the much coveted silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms, which are the larvae of the moth named Bombyx mori. In Latin, Bombyx mori means silkworm of the mulberry tree. The origin of silk has been traced back to ancient China. It is believed that the source of this fabric was kept a secret by the Chinese people for around 2000 years.
Now, it is no longer a secret and silk is produced in various parts of the world. While most of us are aware of the fact that silk is produced from silkworms, very few know that these larvae have also been used for its so-called health benefits. In fact, silkworms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a very long time. Today, silkworm extract is found as an ingredient in various health supplements.
Use of Silkworm as Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicinal preparations consist of various ingredients, mainly plants and herbs. However, you may also come across some strange ingredients like certain fungi, powdered centipede, cow's gallstones, tiger penis or rhinoceros horn. You may get surprised to know that silkworms are also included in this long list of materials that are said to have medicinal properties. Dried silkworm larvae (died of white muscardine disease) are used for treating spasms, flatulence and various other conditions.
It is said that silkworms that feed on mulberry leaves are found to be have more health effects than the others. While, the extracts from silkworm cocoons are used for medicinal purposes, even the enzymes released by the bacteria that are found in the gut of these larvae are said to be beneficial for treating various health problems. Extracts made from male silk moths is also said to be effective as an aphrodisiac.
What is Silkworm Extract
Silkworms are used in medicine in the dried form or as extracts. Such extract has been used in China for a very long time and is said to be prepared through fermentation of silkworm larvae. The moths that emerge from cocoons, are also used for preparing silkworm moth extract. Male silk moths are separated from the females, as soon as they emerge from the cocoons.
This is done to prevent copulation, which is said to lower the effectiveness of these moths as an aphrodisiac. These male moths are dried, before preserving in alcohol. Later, the extract is prepared from them. These extracts are used as such or in combination with other such supplements like ginseng and cordyceps.
Benefits of Silkworm Extract
This extract is said to contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, cephalin and various other beneficial compounds. It is said to contain male hormones too. All these components make this extract useful in nourishing the endocrine as well as the reproductive system of males. This preparation is said to be effective in boosting sexual desire, especially in males.
Silkworm extract is also said to work wonders in treating conditions like migraine, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. As it is believed to help in retention of moisture by the skin, this extract is also used for curing skin lesions. It is also claimed to be beneficial in treating prostate hyperplasia. Even erectile dysfunction is said to be cured with this product.
The enzyme found in the intestine of silkworms is also said to have numerous health benefits. It is said that this enzyme, named serrapeptase, is good for enhancing blood circulation and in treating arterial plaque. The enzyme is said to act on non living tissues and so, is believed to be beneficial for breaking down arterial plaque, scar tissues, blood clots and cysts. Serrapeptase is claimed to be beneficial for treating inflammatory conditions too.
In short, extract made from silkworms is claimed to be effective for treating various health problems. However, it is widely known for its aphrodisiac properties. But, so far, there is no conclusive evidence to prove silkworm extract benefits or safety. Most of these products are not reviewed or approved by the FDA. So, it will be always beneficial to seek the opinion of your doctor, before using this product. Another point to note is to use this extract, as per the instructions of a qualified Chinese medical practitioner.