Sharks are the most ancient vertebrates. Judging by the fossil finds of archaeologists, ancient sharks lived in the world ocean in the Mesozoic – about 140 million years ago. Modern sharks differ little from their distant predecessors. For millions of years they have not changed much, although different types of sharks are very different in appearance, habits and lifestyle, but they are all united by the cartilage skeleton, devoid of bone tissue. Another feature of this ancient species is the absence of gill covers, instead of them in sharks there are 5-7 gill slits on each side of the body.
If you run your hand over the shark’s skin from head to tail, then the skin will be only slightly rough. In the opposite direction, you will feel sharp teeth, the same as on sandpaper with a large grain. Peculiarities of shark skin are explained by its structure – each small scale of these cartilaginous fishes ends with a small thorn. The spike is protected by strong enamel, inside each such scales pass the nerve and blood vessels. Closer to the edge of the mouth at the shark is a larger scale, and in the mouth of the shark spikes are already becoming sharply sharpened teeth. Both the teeth of the shark and its integumentary scales are similar in structure to the teeth of mammals. Scales of sharks, as well as teeth, are arranged in rows in a checkerboard pattern. When razor-sharp teeth in the front row become dull, they are replaced by a new row. There are no chewing teeth in sharks; they do not chew on their prey, they only tear off and swallow pieces.
Acquaintance of the person with sharks
Sharks are found everywhere, at great depths and near the surface, in tropical seas and in the cold waters of the polar ocean. Despite the huge number of sharks in the world’s oceans, people did not know about these animals for a long time. Until the 16th century in English there was no name for sharks, they were called by the Spanish name „Tiburon“. In the ancient treatises on the fauna of the shark are not mentioned. For the first time they were mentioned by ancient authors – Herodotus, Pliny and Aristotle. After the development of fisheries and navigation, people began to meet frequently with sharks, there were victims of man-to-shark clashes, and terrible stories about merciless sea killers spread. The reputation of cannibals is firmly attached to sharks, although only certain types of sharks are dangerous to humans.
Sharks in cooking
Dangerous temper and frightening appearance did not save the sharks from falling on the table. For centuries, humans have been mining sharks using their meat, skin, cartilage, and liver. In many countries, shark meat is considered a delicacy, it is eaten fresh, salted and smoked. A certain type of shark even got the name “soup shark” because of the fins that are used for shark soup, one of the masterpieces of Chinese cuisine. Shark meat is valued not only for its taste, but also for its beneficial properties. So, in the shark liver there are several dozen times more vitamin A than in cod liver. Medicines made from sharks have long been used in Chinese medicine.
One of the main principles of Chinese medicine: any food product is to some extent a medicine. Therefore, any dish made from several products is a complex medicine in which all the ingredients must be combined with each other.
It is also important that, like drugs, food should be used for its intended purpose, according to the state of the body. For any disease in Chinese medicine there are not only medical procedures, but also a diet of specially selected dishes that help recovery.
Such an approach to cure exists not only in China, many ancient doctors believed that every food should be a medicine, and a medicine should be food , such were the views of Avicenna and Hippocrates. But it was only thanks to the Chinese doctors, who carefully studied and systematized information about the multitude of food products, that they managed to introduce healthy eating habits into the culture of an entire people. Chinese cuisine is distinguished by a very careful attitude to the valuable biologically active substances contained in the products.
Fish in Chinese medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that fish:
- Curative effect on the stomach.
- Purifies the liver and blood.
- It has a diuretic, resolving, antipyretic, detoxifying, antitussive action.
- Helps with swelling, bloating, anuria, hepatitis.
- Useful for diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
- It is indicated for hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke.
Chinese doctors advise pregnant women to eat fish with restless behavior of the fetus, with edema in pregnant women. Also in China, fish is considered a means of stimulating lactation. With the late arrival of milk, nursing mothers in China have taken to eat fish with a small amount of salt.
The study of the healing properties of sharks modern science
Many drugs are allocated pharmacologists from those substances that have long been considered healing traditional medicine. Chemists have studied many medicinal plants and animal preparations, and isolated from them potent substances. It turned out that even without deep knowledge of chemistry and physiology, old healers could find in nature a number of truly healing means, thanks to careful observation of the nature of diseases.
Not paid attention to her medicine, made from sharks, and modern science. Unfortunately, the properties of medicinal substances from sharks are still little studied, as well as the sharks themselves. For example, in spite of the fact that scientists have been observing sharks for a long time, only in recent years scientists have been able to document the process of birth of a shark.
Although chemists have already identified several substances with interesting healing properties from shark cartilage , for a long time only products made by primitive mechanical grinding have been represented on the dietary supplements market. Far Eastern scientists managed to isolate the maximum amount of nutrients from the cartilage shark using a new method – enzymatic hydrolysis. Scientists hope that the methods of modern science will reveal many more secrets of our ancient neighbors on the planet, which will be useful in the treatment of many diseases.