Silkworms enhancing a drinkable beauty product
Involved for many years in the edible insect industry, I’ve always been curious and excited to see and try new products. I recently received a unique product from China: A drinkable beauty product enriched with silkworms peptides. While I already ate silkworm pupae and loved their flavour, it’s the first time I’m having the opportunity to try a health product made with silkworms. Let’s roll on and get more beautiful thanks to insects!
The traditional use of silkworms as food, medicine and beauty product
Before trying this innovative healthcare product, we have to know that silkworms are the most commonly eaten insects worldwide. As Westerners, when thinking about edible insects we think about crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers but on a global scale, silkworms are far more consumed. The silkworm pupae is a leftover from the silk industry and a true delicacy! It is commonly eaten in Thailand, China and Korea where in this country it is better known as the famous “Beondegi“. In Thailand, silkworm pupae can now be found as packaged snacks in the 7-Eleven supermarket chain.
High in proteins, vitamins and minerals, silkworms have also been traditionally used for their medicinal properties. The use of silkworms in Chinese medicine dates back from more than 3000 years. When products are used in traditional medicine, it is often complicated to understand where the properties come from. Can they be backed by modern science? I wrote in an article that sometimes properties of edible insects come more from beliefs than proofed facts. For silkworms, the nutritional and medicinal properties of its proteins and peptides have been widely studied.
Not only used as food and medicine, silkworm cocoon is used in the cosmetics industry. They are sold as “cocoon facial soap” in Korea where women gently rub their faces with silkworm cocoon in order to benefit from it anti-ageing properties
The properties of silkworms peptides: when tradition meets innovation
Peptides are a chain of amino acids that compose proteins.
In fact, the story of silk started almost 5000 years ago. While princess Xi Ling Shi was preparing a cup of tea, a silkworm cocoon from a mulberry tree fell into the hot water and its silk thread started unravelling.
From this day, silk and silkworms have been used in many ways. The pupae of silkworms have been eaten and used for millennia.
As people benefit from their nutritional values since the early days, scientists conduct studies and backed those benefits. Different proteins and peptides of silkworms have some interesting and promising properties. As an example, sericin has some antioxidant potential, anticancer activities, liver and gastric protection, and could lower cholesterol. Moreover, it has been proven that sericin has a curative effect in diabetes.
According to Indian scientists:”Sericin which is a silk protein has applications in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics such as wound healing,bio-adhesive, moisturizing, anti-wrinkle and anti-aging. ”
Now, that we are able to extract the peptides of the silkworms, we can increase its digestibility as chitin naturally present in whole insects could decrease proteins absorption.
Chrys Mei : A drinkable beauty product enriched with silkworms peptides
Let’s focus now on our product! The product is called Chrys-Mei and has been developed by Avaento, a Chinese biotech lab. Chrys-Mei is a drinkable beauty product using the properties of silkworms peptides and fish collagens peptides as the anti-aging agent. There are 2 versions using different active ingredients:
- “Anti-Aging”(for night): Pomegranate juice, apple juice, blueberry juice, raspberry juice, cranberry juice, purple carrot juice, silkworm polypeptides, fish collagen peptides.
- “Radiance”(for day): Baked coix seed, naked oat groats, dietary fiber, silkworm polypeptides, fish collagen peptides, oat kernel flour, coix seed extract.
For now, I only received the Radiance one.
The packaging is beautifully designed in an envelope, sealed by a butterfly. When we open the wings of the butterfly, we can find 2 unique pouches of 25mL of product. I assume that on the final version you should receive one product of each.
Different mentions on the packaging are available both in Chinese and English. In English, the indications mention that the products contain :
- Low calories
- No additives
- No GMO
- No artificial colouring
As someone who normally doesn’t consume meat or fish, this product was a breach of my diet rules. Even if didn’t eat meat or fish intentionally for the last two years, it’s not the first time I consumed products from those animals. Living in China for 3 months, I wasn’t always aware of where my food came from…
I made another breach for you and for science! When I drank the product, I wasn’t informed that it needed to be diluted, so I drank it pure. Silkworms peptides pure and straight from the bottle!
I have to admit that the taste is really pleasing, quite fruity and acidic. If it wasn’t written I couldn’t have figured that there were fish collagen or insects in it!
Regarding the packaging, I find it really appealing and in accordance with the standards of the Chinese beauty industry. All the information I need are available and the description is complete.
I think that this product could have some success in the huge and growing Chinese market. For Western countries, I have more doubts.
One factor that led to the growth of the edible insects’ industry in Europe, US and Canada were that people were aware that insects are high in proteins and eaten in other countries. Very few people here know that insects were used for medicinal purposes or have anti-aging properties.
Moreover, more and more people in Europe are looking for Vegan beauty products. So, despite the benefits of silkworms peptides, a beauty product containing insects and fish could be inadequate with the current trends.
Finally, with the new Novel Food regulation in Europe, a specific application should be submitted for silkworms peptides.
I would like to thank Chrys Mei CEO, Zilu Wan for sending me the products along with some scientific papers. I wish him a lot of success and will look forward to the development of his promising company.
If you want more information about his product, you can reach out to him on LinkedIn.
Nutrient composition and protein quality evaluation of eri silkworm (Samia ricinii) prepupae and pupae – Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 400–403 – T. Longvah, K. Mangthya, P. Ramulu.
Silkworm (Bombyx mori) and its constituents: A fascinating insect in science and research – Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies (2017); 5(5): 1701-1705 – M, Harinatha Reddy A, Nageswari G and Venkatappa B
Silkworm Pupae (Bombyx mori) Are New Sources of High-Quality Protein and Lipid – Nutr Sci Vitaminol, 56, 446–448, (2010) – H.TOMOTAKE, M. KATAGIRI, M. YAMATOJ