Bugs as Drugs: Unbelievable Use of Insects for Wounds and Diseases

Bugs as Drugs: Unbelievable Use of Insects for Wounds and Diseases

Arthropods, such as insects, have been used in traditional medicine for several centuries in many parts of the world, including South America, Africa, and East Asia. While many of the insects have not been evaluated by scientists, there are several preliminary trials that proved there are quite a number with real medical benefits, including:


There are many ways to use ants, such as:

  • This may seem strange, but brewing crushed ants can give you tea that will cure headaches and colds. The tea is also used in Australia to cleanse wounds.
  • Another use of ants is for closing open wounds. Ants are allowed to bite into the open flesh and then the heads of the ants are removed while the ants remain on the wound.
  • Ants are generally used for their venom to treat joint pains and swelling. Traditionally, the method is to simply step on a colony where you will obviously get bitten by the ants. These days, there are modern doctors that harness the ant venom for rheumatoid arthritis.


Maggot debridement therapy in Kenya
Maggot debridement therapy in Kenya

These insects are actually quite popular in traditional medicine. A blowfly that lands on a wound will lay maggots and the maggots used here secrete allantoin, which can cure some skin problems, such as burns, diaper rash, and dry skin. Today, there are doctors who use the curative chemical to treat osteomyelitis, which is a bone or bone marrow inflammation.


Bee venom contains various components that have many health benefits, including peptides, glucocorticoids, and enzymes. Proponents of the bee venom therapy swear it can treat almost every disease known to man from rheumatoid arthritis to even multiple sclerosis.


These pests actually have antibiotics that can get rid of MRSA and E. coli. The brains of the cockroaches are the key, but that means you have to ingest them.


For those with syphilis, it is said that mosquitoes that carry malaria can kill the bacterial disease, since syphilis is food for malaria – meaning, it can get rid of syphilis.


Another strange use of insects is by taking caterpillar fungus, which can have a variety of health benefits, including increased energy levels, boost sex drive, and even cure some diseases.

There are many other insects that are used for medicinal purposes, including:

  • Biochemical serratia E15 from silk moth for heart disease treatment
  • Cochineal beetle doused in alcohol for whooping cough, asthma, and UTIs
  • Cicadasfor UTI
  • Cantharidin oil from blister beetles for removing warts

There’s a saying that goes “A little poison can serve as cure” and this can be applied to the use of insects as a stimulant, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or cure for a certain disease.