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Updated: 03/13/2014 02:59:25PM

Who cares about sea cucumbers?

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By Josh Olive

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Do you know what a sea cucumber is? It’s a blobby, sort of gelatinous relative of starfish and sea urchins that lives on the seafloor, eating detritus and whatever edible particles it can sift from the mud and sand. If you saw one, you’d probably avoid touching it. The last thing that you’d probably want to do is eat the thing.

But there are people who do want to eat sea cucumbers. In fact, they want to eat them so badly they’re willing to pay big money for them. It’s not because they’re delicious — in fact, they’re generally described as tasteless. It’s partly because they’re used in some traditional Asian cooking, and partly because they’re used as a remedy for joint pain. But it’s mostly because they’re believed to be an aphrodisiac and sexual cure-all for men in China.

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