Chemists in China have identified substances in some of their ant species that may be able to fight against arthritis and other diseases (i.e. hepatitis, etc).
Apparently in China, ants has been used for centuries as a healthy ingredient in food or drink, against various conditions such as arthritis and hepatitis.
In the new study, Zhi-Hong Jiang and colleagues analyzed extracts from a particular species of Chinese medicinal ant (Polyrhacis lamellidens) commonly used in folk medicine.
The researchers identified at least two polyketides, potent natural products also found in plants, fungi and bacteria that have shown promise in studies by others for fighting arthritis, bacterial infections, and a variety of other diseases.
The researchers suspect that the health benefit from ants may be due to the anti-inflammatory or anti-pain properties of the substances found in ants.
However, the exact chemicals or compounds responsible for such health benefits are yet to be known.
Find more details from Science Daily.
Findings of the above study will appear in the April 25 issue of American Chemical Society‘s Journal of Natural Products — in an article entitled “Bicyclic Polyketide Lactones from Chinese Medicinal Ants, Polyrhacis lamellidens”.
In this particular research, the said Chinese medicinal ant specie is Polyrhacis lamellidens. When I searched the web, only Polyrhachis lamellidens from the Japanese Ant Image Database.
Smith, F. (1874) Descriptions of new species of Tenthredinidae, Ichneumonidae, Chrysididae, Formicidae, &c. of Japan. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (4) 7: 373-409.
Total length of workers around 7-8 mm. Body bicolored; head, legs and gaster black; mesosoma and petiole reddish brown. Dorsal surface of mesosoma flattened, dorsolateral edges carinate. Pronotum with a pair of forwardly-directed spines.
Mesonotum with a pair of backwardly curved spines. Propodeal spines long, their apices curved. Dorsolateral margins of propodeum carinate. Petiole with a pair of long, hooked spines.
Hmmm…seems the same as the Chinese specie used in the above study.
Well, the interesting ending remains to be seen. Really interesting. 😉