6 Disgusting Ways Animals Can Improve Your Health

#3. Blister Beetle Poison

As you can imagine from the name, blister beetles are horrible little creatures that are real pains in the ass. Their main hobbies are slaughtering other insects, basket weaving and poisoning horses to death.

That's because they're full of a toxin called cantharidin, which is secreted by the male blister beetle and given to the female when they're mating, kind of like a really shitty fruit basket (which is to say any fruit basket). While not generally lethal to humans, their venom does cause extremely painful welts that look more obscene than genital warts.

Despite that, through the years blister beetles, like leeches, have been used for a wide variety of completely worthless medical purposes. At varying times they've been used to cure gout, rheumatism and impotency. Spanish Fly is actually made from ground-up blister beetles. Unsurprisingly, the only result has been generations of people inadvertently poisoning themselves, all bonerless and covered in wet, ugly welts.

Yet, also like leeches, modern scientists are finding out you can in fact use the poison cantharidin for all sorts of things. Today it can be found in real medicine curing warts, removing tattoos and punching cancer in the face, as scientists (in China, anyway) have discovered it inhibits the growth of a number of cancer cells.

So there's still hope for Spanish Fly, right? Are they working on that?

#2. Shrimp Shells

Shrimp are an amazing species, blessed with the rare abilities to be delicious, ugly as a mule's ass and really easy to catch. Even the most inbred son of the bayou can outsmart a herd of shrimp, which is why you can eat them for cheap in New Mexico even though nothing that even vaguely resembles a shrimp actually lives within a few hundred miles.

The only problem with eating shrimp is that you can never eat all of the damn things. You can eat the guts, even that little poop chute they call a vein to keep it classy, but you can't really do anything but slurp the shells and let them pile up next to your recliner.

Or so you thought. Some scientists in the army have found an extremely cool way to use those nasty old shrimp corpses to stop people from dying. They've developed a revolutionary medical patch that stops even the worst arterial bleeding entirely within one to five minutes.

By zapping out some of the chains in the atoms making up shrimp shells, this patch is able to control even hemorrhagic bleeding with incredible success, putting mankind one step further in our insatiable quest to kick death in the balls forever or, failing that, make drunken knife throwing competitions a little less lethal.

And after the knife-throwing we can all have a snack. Everybody wins!

The HemCom company is even now selling them in bulk to the U.S. Government, who expects them to reduce all combat deaths by 20-30 percent and leave our armed forces stinking of low tide.

#1. Hookworms

Hookworms are just one more sign of Mother Nature's mindless, unreasoning hatred of the human race. They live in dense piles of rotting fecal matter, as well as the bodies of any people or livestock unfortunate enough to live near giant mounds of excrement. They breed rapidly inside their hosts and spread like wildfire around close-knit populations with poor sanitation, so keep your eyes peeled the next time you're in Detroit.


Once a hookworm finds its way inside of your body, they proceed to fuck like nasty monkeys until your insides are riddled with wriggling worm larva. The worms leech off valuable nutrients from your body and can cause a whole host of maladies from diarrhea to intestinal blood loss (which is the way polite people say "ass bleeding").

While hookworms are undeniably horrible for the poverty-ridden denizens of Third World Nations, they could prove extremely useful to those of us that won the cosmic jackpot and grew up in a developed country.

Professor David Pritchard and his team of bad ass Men of Science have a theory that small hookworm infections may be the most effective allergy medication on earth. Hookworms force your body's immune system to go into the physiological equivalent of a quarterback blitz in order to protect your intestines from the ravenous swarm of nematodes. Maintaining such a high-level assault force stops the rest of your immune system from going into overdrive, which renders your body unable to have a severe allergic reaction.

Thanks, you terrifying bastard.

All of the results aren't in yet, but it looks like a small infection of 10 or so worms isn't large enough to cause a danger, but appears to virtually shut down allergic reactions in the host and may be able to control asthma and Crohn's disease. Pritchard and his boys were so confident about their theory that they infected themselves with hookworms in order to prove it. Are you paying attention Hawking? That's how you do motherfucking science.

Find more of Robert's work over at i4u.com..

For movies that are depressing for a whole other reason check out Rick's look at 5 Awesome Movies Ruined By Last-Minute Changes. Or find out about some action stars whose careers had a less than happy ending in 5 Movie Martial Artists That Lost a Deathmatch to Dignity.

Or, visit the Cracked.com Top Picks to see what we're looking at instead of working.

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