Sea cucumbers are a type of marine invertebrate that have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. They are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which have been linked to a reduction in inflammation in the body. Eating sea cucumber regularly can help improve aspects of heart health, such as reducing cholesterol levels. However, some species of sea cucumber produce powerful toxins that can be dangerous to humans and other wild animals.
Suggested uses of sea cucumber include cancer, arthritis, impotence and urinary frequency. Different species of sea cucumber can have different effects on the body when consumed. Many species have lower anticoagulant properties, which can thin the blood. Therefore, those taking warfarin or other blood-thinning medications should avoid eating large amounts of sea cucumber.
People with seafood allergies should also stay away from this ocean inhabitant. On Asian islands, sea cucumbers have been exploited for their anticoagulant properties, and fishermen usually throw them into tidal pools to paralyze fish and facilitate their capture. Sea cucumbers are safe to eat for most people, but it is important to keep in mind that they can thin the blood. Therefore, those taking blood thinners or blood-thinning medications should avoid them.
Once these steps are completed, cut the sea cucumber into slices and combine it with other strong-tasting foods, such as winter melon, shiitake mushrooms and Chinese cabbage. Sea cucumber has a neutral flavor, so it won't taste much without added spices and condiments, just like tofu. Although sea cucumber has been used in traditional medicine for several conditions, human studies are lacking. In humans, the holoturinic toxins in sea cucumbers cause acute irritant dermatitis when they come into contact with the skin. The symptoms were probably due to holoturins in spray form, which are saponins that sea cucumbers secrete as a defense.