Nutritional and Therapeutic Benefits of Termites
Termites are edible insects with approximately 2600 species in the world. Though sometimes referred to as as white ants, they are not in any way ants. They are social insect that belong to the family of Termitoidae and categorized into fertile male (king), fertile female (queen), sterile male (worker) and sterile female (soldiers).
Termites contain adequate amount of fat and protein and are consumed as food especially in developing countries where malnutrition is widespread. They are rich in vitamins A and C and have a sweet flavor which is more pronounced when fried, roasted or sun-dried.
The flying termites (also known as Alates) are a special delicacy in the western and eastern part of Nigeria. This species is a good snack during the rainy season, when the crops have not yet developed.
These Alates are called different names by the different tribes in Nigeria for instance, the Igbos refer to it as Aku, Yoruba people call it Esusun, Hausa people call it Khiyea or Chinge while the Ibibio people call it Mbube.
While it is improbable that termite mounds would take the place of orthodox medicine, they have found profound use in the treatment of various kinds of human diseases like whooping cough, asthma, tonsillitis, hoarseness, influenza, wounds and malnutrition.
Treatment of Gastric Disorders
Termite mounds contain kaolin which is used in some parts of the world for the treatment of gastric disorders. Kaolin is a medicinal clay substance found in nature. They can also be used for the treatment of cholera, mild-to-moderate diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ache and dysentery.
Treatment of Ulcers
In combination products, kaolin is used for the treatment of ulcers and inflammation in the large intestine otherwise known as chronic ulcerative colitis.
For Pregnant Women
Studies have revealed that termite mounds contain a wide range of minerals such as iron and calcium, which are helpful for pregnant women. Herbal concoctions are also prepared using the termite mounds and applied on the stomach of pregnant women.
Supports the Ecosystem
Termites feed on dead organic materials and so are known to support the ecosystem by recycling faeces of these animals, dead animals, dead wood and cellulose.
While eating termites, especially flying termites may sound disgusting to you, it has however helped a good number of people around the world overcome the onslaught of malnutrition and gastric disorders and as such its consumption should be encouraged.