What are the different uses of bird saliva?

Bird saliva soup is believed to increase libido.

Very few people associate birds with saliva. At the very least, few people associate bird saliva with different uses; however, it has applications outside the bird’s own mouth. Bird saliva can be used as a nest building tool, a culinary ingredient and a component of traditional medicine.

Some bird species, including swifts and hummingbirds, use their saliva to build their nests. The swift, for example, projects a large amount of saliva against a surface, such as the trunk of a tree, serving as an anchor for the nest. Then they build the nest on continuous layers of bird saliva, along with the odd inclusion of objects like feathers, twigs and other plant material. The resulting nest has a very smooth and deep bowl shape. Saliva is an ideal building component as it is thick and dries quickly.

Swifts use saliva to glue their nests together.

Bird saliva also forms the basis of a traditional Chinese delicacy, swallow’s nest soup. The nests used in this expensive dish are produced by male swifts, found mainly in China and Thailand. This dish is considered very prestigious and is therefore very popular. To meet the demand, several nesting sites are man-made.

The most valued ingredient for this delicacy are the white nests produced by Edible Nest and Pacific Swallows. These are further classified into quality levels, the highest being the nests collected first in the harvest season, before the chicks hatch. Nests are cleaned after sorting to remove any foreign material.

Nests are composed almost exclusively of bird saliva. To make the soup, cooks dip the nests in water, causing them to swell and soften. This allows any embedded material to be removed. They then place the nests in a pot and cover them with water. After approximately 15 minutes of boiling, the rock sugar goes into the pan. Cooks boil this mixture for an additional hour before serving.

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The resulting soup is thick and gelatinous, with most of the nest dissolved. Bird saliva soup is very popular in America and Hong Kong, which are the biggest importers of the nests. Eating the soup is believed to increase libido and sharpen mental focus. The benefits of eating it are considered so important that no seasoning should be added.

Bird saliva is believed to have additional health benefits, and nests are popularly used in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine. It is considered an excellent restorative for the lungs and is used to relieve asthma and other respiratory disorders. The nests, which contain calcium, zinc and iron, also stimulate growth and improve blood circulation. Finally, saliva has also long been used as an anti-aging tonic and immune system enhancer, improving overall health and helping to prevent colds and flu.

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