Amazing Power ! Oculi Cancri, Crayfish Gastrolith

Crayfish frequently sheds during the first days of life and unshells more than five times a year, but after that, it repeats molting about 2-3 times a year and grows larger. During this molting, the gastrolith plays a vital role in forming a new shell.  

The crayfish dissolves the body's calcium, such as the shell, into the blood and collects it in the stomach before molting, and then makes stones in the stomach. After storing the calcium content in the gastric stone and removing the shell, the calcium content of the stone is dissolved in the blood and returned to a new body to create a hard and robust outer shell. It's an amazing mechanism.  

This gastrolith is composed of two small white hemispheres that form a single sphere. Therefore, crayfish gastric stones can only be collected from crayfish at the molting stage, and only two small semi-hemispheres can be obtained from one crayfish.  

This crayfish gastrolith was once called Oculi Cancri and was prized as a medicine. It is about the Edo period. In Korea, the gastrolith of Korean crayfish was used. In Japan, the gastrolith of Japanese crayfish was used.  

Japanese crayfish gastrolith was traded at a high price as a particular product of Hokkaido, a remote area. The gastroliths that can be taken from small crayfish, which is a little body, are small and can only be taken from the molting periods, and since it is a product of an undeveloped and remote area, you can understand how expensive it was.  

Since it makes so much money, Japanese crayfish was produced in each domain in the northern Tohoku. Some scholars argue that the Japanese crayfish currently living in northern Tohoku are descendants of those transplanted from Hokkaido at that time, and before that, the Japanese crayfish did not live in Honshu. 

Originally, Oculi Cancri is a word that means "crustacean eye" in Latin and has been used as a medicine in Europe for a long time. Indeed, the crayfish gastrolith is shaped like an eye.  

In the 16th century, Christian missionaries who came to Japan, also carried Oculi Cancri powder and took it for gastrointestinal illnesses such as stomach cramps. Oculi Cancri also appears in the book written in the 17th century. In the 18th century, there was a record that the 8th Shogun Yoshimune imported 2 pounds of Oculi Cancri, and the crayfish of Japanese crayfish began to be introduced by the trade with Ainu. In addition to the Matsumae Domain, as mentioned earlier, each domain in the northern Tohoku region is also involved in the gastrolith business of the Japanese crayfish. In the 19th century, it was known that Nagasaki physician Siebold preferred Oculi Cancri. During his trip to Edo, he got a Japanese crayfish in Shimonoseki and made it a specimen. That was in 1826. At that time, Oculi Cancri was already available in local cities. After 15 years, the Japanese crayfish were officially reported to the academic society by De Haan and named Cambaroides Japonicus.  

In the Edo period, Oculi Cancri was prescribed as a panacea that was effective for various diseases such as eye diseases, urinary organ diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and swelling.  

Some people may think, "The people in the Edo period were unscientific to think of a mere calcium mass as a panacea. But don't downplay the wisdom of your predecessors!  

Oculi Cancri is not just a mass of calcium. Yes, most of them are calcium, but the calcium itself is excellent as described below, and also, it contains a small amount of protein with fantastic power.  

Let's talk about calcium first. Oculi Cancri calcium is not simple calcium. Usually, calcium in the body of living organisms exists in a crystallized state, but the calcium in Oculi Cancri exists in an uncrystallized state. It is called ACC (Amorphous Calcium Carbonate). Since ACC exists in a volatile state of amorphous, it dissolves easily, and when taken into the body of a living organism, it quickly establishes as stable calcium crystals in bones. Therefore, Oculi Cancri is not just a lump of calcium, but it is also an excellent calcium supplement.  

Let's talk about the small amount of protein in Oculi Cancri. Recent research has shown that this protein has tremendous power and is very good. The protein has been isolated and identified and is named GAP X (X is a number). Patent applications have already been filed for use as pharmaceuticals. By the way, GAP is an abbreviation for Gastrolith Protein. In the future, it may generate enormous profits in the pharmaceutical field.  

In the first place, calcium is an essential component of the organism's body and plays a central role in signal transduction. In the future, we will discuss the role of amorphous calcium in the formation of calcium crystals present in the human body, the role of proteins such as GAP, and the mechanism in the human body. It seems that further research should proceed.  

In any case, the protein contained in Oculi Cancri has tremendous power and is known to be effective for pain, proliferative disease, neuropathy, immune deficiency, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, nutritional disorder, reproductive disorder, musculoskeletal disorder, and dental diseases. More specifically, it is effective for post-operative pain, post-injury pain, pain associated with cancer, neuropathic pain, etc. For proliferative diseases, it is effective in reducing or inhibiting the growth of cancer, such as breast cancer and bronchial cancer, and tumor cells. Also, neurological disorders include demyelinating diseases, dementia, and movement disorders, including degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. For musculoskeletal disorders, it also works for bone disorders and bone marrow disorders, such as fractures and osteoporosis. That is why it is already started to be used in the medical field.  

After all, Oculi Cancri is a panacea!  

It wasn't just a lump of calcium, was it? It would be so. The weight of calcium in Oculi Cancri is only 3 percent of the weight of calcium in the shell. The remaining 97 percent of the calcium needed to form a new shell after molting will be taken from outside the crayfish.  

If calcium supplementation is the unique purpose of the crayfish gastrolith, the gastrolith should be larger, and, through the process of evolution, a gastrolith should be to store calcium that accounts for a higher percentage of calcium lost in molting. In other words, the purpose of gastrolith is not only to supplement calcium, but rather to protect against viruses that try to invade through the soft skin that is peeled off during molting and to strengthen immunity.  

A long time ago, there was a terrible execution called flaying. Even humans, if the skin is peeled off, bacteria will invade and go around the whole body, and they die from infections such as sepsis. For the crayfish, the soft state under the molting shell is just like an Inaba white rabbit whose skin is peeled off the body. To survive in such a state, I think that the gastrolith supplies the incredible protein GAP and ACC that is amorphous calcium to save the life of the crayfish.  

You may not be given up by doctors right now, but if you may be so in the future, how about collecting it?  

Now, let's talk about how to collect Oculi Cancri.

How to collect Oculi Cancri, Crayfish Gastroliths

1. The way to remove gastroliths directly from crayfish

Crayfish gastroliths begin to form about one month before molting, gradually grow to become the largest at molting, shrink rapidly after molting, and disappear in about 70 hours. In other words, crayfish gastroliths exist only before and after molting, so it is necessary to remove the gastroliths when the crayfish has molted. By the way, you can also enjoy the whole body because it is softshell crayfish immediately after molting. Nonetheless, it is surprisingly difficult to find signs of crayfish molting, and it is often the case that time has passed since molting, and you missed the chance of collecting gastroliths. As shown in the photo, the crayfish's stomach is very close to the mouth. It's relatively easy once you get the knack.

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If you are intimidated to work on the crayfish that you love in your daily life, we recommend that you remove the gastrolith after the crayfish has died. As you know, there are quite a few cases of crayfish dying in the middle of molting, where they die when half of their shells are removed. After all, for crayfish, molting is a life-threatening and dangerous task, and it is a business that requires the maximum physical strength. When you open the stomach of a crayfish that has been gone up in the middle of molting, you will always have gastroliths. Also, even when crayfish are killed normally without taking their shells off, it is often the case that when you open their stomachs to find gastroliths, and you understand the time of molting is near.

Also, crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and crayfish have a fast decay and strong smell, so I think it is better to make a stomach incision as soon as possible after death. Even if it smells, it is a valuable gastrolith. Please be patient. In that case, wash the removed gastrolith with water.



2. The way to use crayfish cannibalism

 This is a pitiful way but is the easiest way.  

When you clean a crayfish tank, you often find something like a small white semi-spherical stone. This is a crayfish gastrolith, but in most cases, it is a cannibal remnant. If you keep multiple crayfish in one tank, cannibalism often occurs during molting. No matter how strong the crayfish are, they are vulnerable at the time of molting.  

There was once such a thing. A beautiful and weak Tiny Blue and violent and ferocious Giant Guy were living together. Tiny Blue was always bullied by Giant Guy, and his DV was so intense that it was cute Tiny Blue that loses one arm. One day, when I looked into the aquarium, the crayfish's tail was left. I thought, "Pity Tiny Blue, has been killed at last!" But when I looked closely at it with a slender face at the corner! "Wow! It was the Giant Guy who was eaten?" It was not attacked when fallen asleep but was attacked when shedding off. "You finally did it! You cleared the long-standing grudge! Tiny Blue," but it was a bit perplexing. Later, two Oculi Cancri were left behind.  

For us humans, the part that we think is delicious for shrimp or crawfish is the so-called tail, but for crayfish, the chest seems to be the most delicious, eaten first, and the tail is left behind. However, as expected, the gastrolith is so hard that it remains.  

In any case, if you keep the crayfish in an overcrowded state, cannibalism occurs during molting, and the number of cannibalized crayfish ~ 2 gastroliths will remain automatically. If you collect this regularly, you can get Oculi Cancri with little effort. It's an entrepreneurial way to get the maximum output at the lowest labor cost, but it may be a bit unacceptable to our crayfish enthusiasts.