Research and utilization of medicinal insects in China


Ying Feng, The Research Institute of Resource Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China.


The research and utilization of medicinal insects in China is introduced briefly in this paper. Medicinal insects have been used to treat human diseases from ancient times. There are approximately 300 medicinal insects species distributed in 70 genera, 63 families and 14 orders at present. An estimated 1700 traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions include medicinal insects or insect-derived crude drugs. Many insect-derived compounds have been studied and show efficient therapeutic functions. Techniques for mass rearing and cultivation of medicinal insects have been developed in order to have sufficient quantities of medicinal insects. Suggestions are made towards the uses of medicinal insects and it is proposed that insects will be a main resource for the future discovery of new drugs.