It’s only Bird Spit!

The Malay Mail featured an item called Health values in delicacy

The main ingredient in bird’s nest of the popular Chinese dish is the saliva of the male sea swiftlet.

It is widely believed that the bird’s nest helps in beauty care and improve skin complexion. The delicacy is said to enhance the body’s immune system through cell division caused by the water-soluble glyco-protein and helps to heal illness among others, connected with the respiratory system such as chronic cough, asthma or throat infection.

It can also reduce fatigue, strengthen body’s self-regulating actions, resistance to disease, and provide superior food supplement for pregnant women and after childbirth.

Chemical analysis of edible bird’s nest reveals that the main constituents are about 60 per cent water-soluble proteins, water and traces of fat, carbohydrates, calcium, potassium and sodium.

It’s only bird spit people. I can’t understand the stupid obsession these people have in ingesting this item, at the expense of the poor birds (nests are raided and young swifts may die).
I challenge anyone to show evidence that ingesting “birds’ spit” is good for you…
Don’t believe me? Check out Dr. Liew’s opinion

Related MMR blogpost: It’s just saliva


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast

4 comments on “It’s only Bird Spit!
  1. MaRk says:

    I guess all we have is empirical evidence and good ol faith in word of mouth recommendations.

    However, when I was young I did have frequent coughs that would last for months which AMAZINGLY, no western medical doctor could treat. However, a bowl of birds nest would make it go away overnight.

    This happened for about 2-3 times….leaving me quite convinced.

    Placebo effect, incompetancy of the doctors I consulted or genuine therapeutic effect from bird’s spit, you decide.

  2. Palmdoc says:

    It’s anectdotal experience and may be a placebo effect

  3. Sian says:

    True about many Paediatric viral illnesses, by the time the patients take some ‘magic medicine’ after consulting many doctors, the illnesses were coming to the end anyway.

  4. Palmdoc says:

    True. that is why anectdotal “evidence” is very poor evidence. One can come to the wrong conclusion easily.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "It’s only Bird Spit!"
  1. […] One of the disadvantage of studying overseas is that we have little experience dealing with oriental patients with all their myths and beliefs. Reading the bird’s nest story reminds me of how deeply rooted some of these beliefs can be. […]