Is feeding kids live tadpoles for good health a fact or a fallacy?
Experts warn against trying this at home, mums and dads. So why is it a common practice in some parts of China?
As a parent, you want to do everything it takes to make sure your child is as healthy as possible. For some parents, it means looking to traditional and even unusual practices. Like this one mum in China who believes that making her son eat tadpoles (they were alive!) would ensure his good health.
A video of the mum feeding her young son live tadpoles has recently gone viral. Naturally, many criticised her for her actions, saying that doing this would do more harm than good.
The mum's heart was in the right place, but doctors agree that there is a great risk of parasitic infection that comes with eating tadpoles uncooked.
You can watch the video below.
In Singapore, a frog farm offers a drink made out of dried fruit and female frog's fallopian tubes called hashima. This, they believe, helps boost lung health and promote clearer skin.
In Thailand, they serve a tadpole dish called luk awd (ลูกอ๊อด). Even full-grown frogs are a common ingredient, as it is believed to provide loads of protein. Thais stew or make a curry with it together with chili, and they even deep fry frogs.
Though there is no doubt a high demand exists for this type of natural supplement across the world, certain traditional practices — like making kids eat tadpoles — can be dangerous.
A recent study published in the Infectious Diseases of Poverty Journal emphasised its risks. In the study, researchers took a closer look at the case of a 29-year-old farmer. The man, who liked to eat tadpoles regularly, was rushed to the hospital due to a severe infection.
Like the mum mentioned above, the farmer believed tadpoles would help boost his health — specifically, in treating his severe skin condition.
At first, doctors thought he had appendicitis and peritonitis, but upon closer inspection they found out that he had sparganosis.
Sparganosis is a rare parasitic infection derived from ingesting animal feces. He remained in the hospital for about a month.
If eating tadpoles could do this to a full-grown man, imagine what it could do to a little child.
In conclusion, the study urges authorities to discourage this common practice. Proper education should be conducted in areas where this habit is common.
Traditional Chinese Medicine does have its benefits. It didn't become a centuries-old tradition for nothing, after all. But with modern advancements comes a greater responsibility to be more discerning when it comes to making sure our kids grow up truly healthy.