China Medicine Woman Nearly Dies From Eating Fungus Bugs

Story ByJohn FengSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyAsia Wire Report

A woman nearly died when her heart stopped and she stopped breathing after she decided to eat 30 fungus-infested insect carcasses – as part of a Chinese medicine hack to make her healthier.

Ms Liu, 50, cooked and ingested 30 dead cicadas infected with the fungus Paecilomyces cicadae, which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, can boost immunity and even cure cancer.

The woman from Ningbo City in East China’s Zhejiang Province sought to improve her overall well-being and harvested the cicada carcasses herself, picking them off the ground in the mountains near her home.

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Ms Liu reportedly cooked all 30 of the fungi cicadas into a soup but began feeling discomfort shortly after.

She vomited several times and was taken to hospital by her husband and her son.

Reports said Ms Liu stopped breathing and her heart stopped during attempts to treat her, with doctors pumping her stomach and treating her for food poisoning.

Ms Liu spent two days in intensive care before being declared stable.

She is expected to make a full recovery.

Lou Haibo, doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Affiliated Hospital of Medical School of Ningbo University, told local media Ms Liu may have harvested the fungus at the wrong time.

Prolonged exposure to the elements can lead to potentially deadly bacteria on the cicada carcasses.

She may also have eaten the wrong type of fungus, Doctor Lou added.

Paecilomyces cicadae infests cicadas by burrowing into their bodies and replacing their internal organs.

When the insect dies, it bursts out and continues to spread its spores.

Chinese folk remedies instruct practitioners to either boil the fungus in water, cook with meat, infuse it in alcohol, or crush it into powder.

Despite no scientific studies to back up the claims, the fungus supposedly boosts immunity, prevents and cures cancer tumours, and treats insomnia and diabetes.

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John Feng

I am a senior journalist and editor, and have worked for a number of different news agencies over the last decade. I am currently editor-in-chief of the Asia Wire Report news wire.

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