We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” – in this case, don’t mistake a sea cucumber for just a slimy sea slug.
Along with being considered a delicacy in Asian cuisines for centuries, sea cukes have been used in traditional medicines to help aid in a wide variety of health problems, including cancer.
“You can cook it up, but the way you will find it in your local health food store will be dried and powdered up and put in capsule form. “
Dried sea cucumber or extracts are anti-viral; anti-bacterial, and also an anti-inflammatory.
“One of the fascinating things about sea cucumbers also is that it is very high in chondroitin sulfate, which you’re familiar with to treat joint pain and arthritis. To my knowledge, they have the highest concentration of Chondroitin of any animal.”
You will most likely find sea cucumber derivatives to help with joints, Bollinger says, but at the same time, you can take it for the treatment of cancer.
“But it won’t say that it treats cancer because it isn’t approved, but it will say that it helps joint pain. So that is what you will see on the labels”
Bollinger is most excited about the cukes’ healing affects on cancer.
“It is used as an adjunct treatment for those undergoing chemotherapy because it’s very effective at mitigating the side effects of the cancer treatment.”
Researchers have been studying the effects of sea cucumbers on cancer cells for more than 20 years. Bollinger says it can attack cancer in many ways.
“Number one it’s cytotoxic, which means it kills cancer cells. It is also immuno-modulatory. So it has both sides of the cancer equation, which I like to call the cancer killing coin. If you going to defeat cancer you have to have something that up regulates or down regulates your immune system to where it works properly so that your body, but you have to also have something that is going to kill those cancer cells. The sea cucumber does both.”
There are over 1,250 species of sea cucumber in the world.
Each October in Alaska, nearly 2 million pounds of sea cucumbers are harvested by divers in Southeast, with a 120,000 pound fishery at Kodiak, a 15,000 pound harvest at Chignik and 20,000 pounds at the South Peninsula.