Divine ants

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I came across an extraordinary story via Nouvel Observateur [1] about an old man whose teeth fell when he was 72 years old, after which they grew back again. He was able able to chew hazelnuts at 87 years of age, claiming that his steal health was all thanks to ants. He washed the ants with pure water, then he dried them and finally he grilled them until it all became powder from which he was able to make pills. He had one per day everyday. Chinese doctors have said that ants contain nutritional elements and some hormones as well. I don’t know if the ants did the trick or not, but at least recently in the news we have seen this:

Chinese Ants Show Promise For Fighting Arthritis, Other Diseases [2]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2008) Ants may be an unwelcome intruder at picnics, but they could soon be a welcome guest in your medicine cabinet. Chemists in China report identification of substances in a certain species of ants that show promise for fighting arthritis, hepatitis, and other diseases.

For centuries, ants have been used as a health food or drink ingredient in China to treat a wide range of health conditions, including arthritis and hepatitis. Researchers suspect that these health effects are due to anti-inflammatory and pain-killing substances in the ants. However, the exact chemicals responsible for its alleged medicinal effects are largely unknown.

In the new study, Zhi-Hong Jiang and colleagues analyzed extracts from a particular species of Chinese medicinal ant (Polyrhacis lamellidens) commonly used in folk medicine. The researchers identified at least two polyketides, potent natural products also found in plants, fungi and bacteria that have shown promise in studies by others for fighting arthritis, bacterial infections, and a variety of other diseases.


[1] Nouvel Observateur, n· 895, 2 au 9 janvier 1982, “Les petits miracles de l’année” (extraits).

[2] American Chemical Society (2008, April 28). Chinese Ants Show Promise For Fighting Arthritis, Other Diseases. ScienceDaily.

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