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Bird's Nest a Chinese Traditional Health Soup

birds nest vitamins minerals skin

For centuries, the Chinese have been consuming a broth known as Birds Nest. This soup has been traditionally used for generations as a health tonic, by pregnant women, women after giving birth, for digestion and for lung ailments. It is also believed to regenerate the skin and prevent premature aging.

The birds nest comes from swiftlets, who build their nests in caves high up on cliff sights, in Asia. Harvesting the nests is dangerous as it requires climbing up the cliff side to get into the caves. The size of the nests is small, around the size of your palm and this is the reason for the high cost. These days, in order to capitalize on the Birds Nest trade, many people are opening the upper floors of their shop lots and allowing the birds to nest. These shops need constant attention and guarding as thefts are rampant, and the thieves have little regard for the birds well being.

Birds Nest comes from the bird’s salivary glands, which become enlarged, and produce thick, sticky, ropy saliva which hardens, once exposed to air. Over a period of weeks the birds construct a bowl shaped nest of several layers. The first Birds Nest harvest is before the Swifts have a chance to lay their eggs and a second harvest is done after the young swiftlets have left the nest. The second harvest is considered a lower grade of birds nest. There are a few types of Birds Nest, the highest quality being White Birds Nest which comes from the first harvest. Red Birds Nest, the color is caused by the bird’s diet and not the bird’s blood as originally thought. Golden and Black Birds Nest, which are thought to be the lowest quality due to the amount of feathers, plant and dirt particles embedded in the nests.

The main nutritional contents are carbohydrates, glycoprotein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, iodine, and vitamins. Birds Nest is rich in amino acids and antioxidants, the two essential elements that help to generate new cells and counter free radical damage. Regular consumption has been clinically proven to stimulate cell growth and renewal, improve complexion, promote skin clarity and tone, strengthen the bodies immune system and enhance metabolism.

To prepare the Birds Nest you first soak the nest in water for several hours, periodically changing the water. Any left over particles should be removed. Once the nest has softened it is then placed into a ceramic urn with water (about one cup per nest) and rock sugar. The urn is then covered and placed into a boiling pot of water and boiled for an up to four hours.

Armed with the knowledge of the benefits of Birds Nest, skin care manufacturers in Asia have now come out with facial masks containing Birds Nest. The effect of the facial mask is to tone, nourish and clarify the skin. It has anti aging properties as well as blemish reducing properties. The mask is highly stimulating and refreshing and together with the consumption of this age old recipe your skin should be glowing in no time.
Published: 2008-10-31
Author: Teresa Anne Ng

About the author or the publisher
I am a 50 year old Canadian woman and have been living in Malaysia for the past 26 years. I have 5 children ranging in age from 32 to 14. Two of my children are teenagers and I spend my time trying to maintain sanity. I have been widowed for 10 years.

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