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Trepangs – an amazing ability to regenerate

At the bottom of the salty seas live amazing echinoderms. The outer skeleton of thousands of lime plates protects these slow-moving inhabitants of the seabed. Echinoderms appeared on our planet more than 450 million years ago and were able to survive in the species struggle thanks to  unique restorative abilities . Scientists have found that since the Paleozoic period, echinoderms were able to completely restore damaged structures after injury or loss of any organs and tissues. Paleontologists have been able to find numerous specimens of petrified echinoderms, in which recovered parts have been found.

Echinoderms were able to survive in the world of marine predators, and because of their amazing ability to change the wall of the body, they can become tough to protect themselves from predators, or soft and plastic to hide in a hard-to-reach place. Modern echinoderms of holothurians can restore tentacles, legs, needles, heal skin wounds, they can even restore internal organs. According to Chinese scientists, echinoderms of holothurians can completely recover from a small fragment, even if they are cut into two or three pieces.

 Sea urchin, starfish, sea lily, snaketail and sea cucumber , which is also called sea ​​cucumber for its body shape, belong to echinoderms .

Edible sea cucumbers – trepangs

Among the different breeds of sea cucumbers there is a very valuable commercial breed – the trepang . Trepangs are those types of holothurians that can be eaten. Trepang has long been valued as a food and medicine in traditional oriental medicine.

Trepangs are peaceful and innocuous creatures, they live in the Far Eastern salty seas at a shallow depth, near the coast, hiding in the algae thickets and in the crevices of the rocks. Trepang cannot live in fresh water, it is deadly to it. Even lightly salted seas do not suit him.

Trepang – a valuable food product

In food use thick walls of a trepang. Its soft, lean meat is rich in vitamins and minerals. They eat trepangs raw, salted and dried. The meat of trepangs has long been part of the diet of peoples living in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories. So, Udege (“forest people”, they call themselves – ude, udehe) traditionally mined sea kale and sea cucumbers on the seashore. The main foodstuffs of Udegei have always been meat and fish. Despite the fact that the modern ration of the Ude people was replenished with bread, confectionery, cereals, vegetables and fruits, trepangs and uafa (red fish roe) remain the favorite dishes of the Udege people. Udege cooked many dishes from the sea cucumber, it is fried, boiled, salted and dried.

The meat of sea cucumber contains 4-10% protein, about 0.7% fat, caloric content – 34.6 Kcal. In the meat of sea cucumbers more than 50 elements found necessary for the human body are found.

The meat of sea cucumber contains a thousand times more copper and iron compounds than fish, and a hundred times more iodine than meat of other sea creatures.

Trepangs – an ancient healing tool of oriental medicine

The Far Eastern trepang (Aposti chopus japonicus), the Chinese call sea ginseng „hi-sheng“ for its healing properties. This animal is very popular in Japan, in this country in 2003 a book was published with a thousand Japanese three hundred hockey about holothurians. Among eastern nations, it is believed that those who constantly eat the meat of sea cucumbers, forget about their age and lose count of their years.

The trepang that lives in southern Sakhalin and Vladivostok is the only animal on earth that has absolutely sterile cells, that is, they have neither viruses nor bacteria. The most common type of holothurian in the Sea of ​​Japan is the Far Eastern holothurian .

The modern trepang, like its distant ancestors, is able to restore itself from every third of its body; within 2-3 months this amazing holothurian can restore all internal organs without consuming neither food nor oxygen.

Medicinal properties of trepangs

For the first time, the medicinal properties of trepang are described in the 16th century in the Chinese book “At Tszu-Tszu”. We used trepangs as food and medicine from time immemorial. The trepang has no enemies, since its tissues are supersaturated with trace elements that are toxic to marine predators and most valuable for therapeutic purposes. Unique substances increase the body’s resistance to infections, help with intoxication, normalize blood pressure, improve the cardiovascular system, reduce blood sugar levels in diabetes, normalize the gastrointestinal tract and urinary system, and also have anti-herpes properties. For therapeutic purposes, trepang is also used to activate the immune system, in diseases of the musculoskeletal system, prostate adenoma, periodontal disease, and diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

In China’s traditional medicine, sea cucumber meat and medicinal products made from it are advised to take it at the time of the day when certain organs are most active. So, from one hour to three at night, the best time to treat the liver, gallbladder, vision, spleen, joints. From three to five in the morning – the time of the large intestine, nose, skin and hair. From five to seven in the morning – it is advised to treat diseases of the small intestine. From eight to nine in the morning, the bone marrow and stomach are activated. From nine to eleven in the morning, the pancreas and thyroid gland are activated. From eleven in the morning until one o’clock in the afternoon, trepang is advised to take to normalize the work of the heart, blood vessels, psyche and sleep, sexual functions. From three to five o’clock in the evening, the bladder and gynecological organs, as well as bones and blood, are active. From five to seven in the evening comes the turn of the kidneys then from seven to eight in the evening all vessels are active. From 9 pm it is time for the normalization of sexual functions.

How to prepare trepang

Culinary processing of meat of trepangs is various, they can be cooked, stewed, fried and marinated. A broth from a trepang is used for cooking soups, borscht, pickles. The meat of the sea cucumber gives the soups a flavor that resembles the taste of canned fish. Practically all dishes, stewed, fried, pickled, and even soups, are prepared from pre-cooked sea cucumbers. For therapeutic use, it is best to extinguish the sea cucumber; with this method of preparation, the nutrients pass into the broth, and it acquires medicinal properties.

Ice cream trepang must first be defrosted on the top shelf of the refrigerator, then it is prepared the same way as fresh, cut along and washed thoroughly. Rinse the meat of dried sea cucumber is necessary until the water is clear to wash off the coal powder, which is used for drying. After washing, trepangs are soaked for 24 hours in cold water, changing the water three or four times. 

For cooking, trepangs are thrown into salted boiling water. After about three minutes of boiling, the broth turns black due to the very high iodine content in the sea cucumber, after which it needs to be drained. This is repeated several times until the broth stops turning black. The main thing – do not digest trepang more than three minutes, so as not to spoil the taste and texture of meat.

The remarkable properties of trepang are used in many dietary supplements, including to enhance the male potency. For example, the EXTRA SILA complex includes an enzymatic trepang hydrolyzate. In this form, all the beneficial substances of the sea cucumber and other components are maximally absorbed.