Cockroach Tea

So I went into this store in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and was looking around. 


I saw this chest of draws with all sorts of herbs and insects listed. 


One draw included a label for “Cockroach”.


I asked innocently:

Do you have cockroaches in there?


The lady behind the counter responds in broken English:

Oh yes, there are roaches in there. 


Again, not understanding the relationship to the herbs for sale, I inquire:

What are the roaches used for?


The lady looks at me a little more intently and says:

It is for tea–cockroach tea!


My eyes literally bugged out and I go for a third round:

Do people drink that for health reasons?


She responds:

Yes, and it is good for managing pain. 


Hesitatingly, I asked her to take out the bag and open it so I could see for myself. 


I don’t know about you, but growing up in NYC, we definitely didn’t value cockroaches as part of our diet–in fact, we did everything we could to try and rid ourselves of these disgusting insects–but usually to no avail. 


The roaches survived everything we could throw at them!


If they are so resilient, maybe they can provide some health benefits to people (who knows–you’ve got to respect ancient alternative medicines), but I will only say this, you won’t get me anywhere near this roach tea–and not for all the tea in China!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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