Amidst the visceral disgust that gripped us last week upon hearing that one million cockroaches escaped from a Jiangsu cockroach farm, we never asked what a cockroach farm actually does (besides gross people out). The Jiangsu farm in question breeds roaches for medicinal purposes, and apparently makes a killing off it. Quartz reports:
It turns out China has a booming trade in cockroaches that can earn as much as 1200 yuan per kilogram, or $89 per pound. The roaring roach trade began when a Yunnan medical professor noticed elderly ethnic minorities in the area’s mountains pulverizing roaches to cure bone tuberculosis. It took more than a decade of research, but he eventually figured out what they were up to, patenting roach powder as a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) ingredient and cooperating with what’s now perhaps the biggest world’s biggest producer of medicinal raw cockroach-related materials. The powder is used to treat cirrhosis, breast cancer and other ailments, and reputedly also has anti-aging effects (links in Chinese).
So if you’re a Jiangsuer feeling under the weather, when the one million roaches hit your home, don’t reach for the Raid, heat up a wok.
[Image credit: @ciaranduk]