The existence of earthworms may be considered disgusting for some people. However, don’t be mistaken. The presence of these worms gives an early sign of an ideal life system, allowing you to enjoy a variety of foods derived from plants.
Earthworms have an important role in increasing the availability of nutrients to form nutritious soil layers. They do this by eating plant remains, such as dead roots, falling leaves, grass, and compost. This allows the earth which is inhabited by earthworms to have a loose structure, and a more fertile and productive quality.
The Important Role of Earthworms on the Environment and Health
One of the main functions of earthworms that is significant for environmental sustainability is through its ability to improve soil drainage. Soil which is occupied by earthworms has water absorption up to 10 times higher. The corridors made by these worms are also useful as a flowing space for natural materials that can fertilize the soil with the help of rainwater.
In addition, there are other benefits of earthworms that are directly related to the health of the human body, including:
Source of nutrition
Natural medicine to treat inflammation
Natural medicine to deal with nervous system disorders
It might be difficult to imagine if earthworms are used as a source of body nutrition. When you see an earthworm, not a few are disgusted. However, the reality of a study revealed that these animals contain vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium, with high concentrations. From these studies, it is also known that earthworms have a protein content of up to 60-70 percent in their bodies and less fat. In fact, the amino acid content in earthworms reaches 78-79 grams per liter. With such an abundance of nutrients, it’s no wonder earthworms are used as one of the most nutritious foods, for example in ancient communities in China and India.
Various scientific studies have also observed the effects of earthworms on inflammation, oxidation processes, hematology, and biochemical serum indicators. This decomposing animal also contains an organic compound called lumbrokinase, which has many health benefits. One of them is to reduce inflammation caused by hypercoagulation. Currently, these compounds are quite often used as food supplement ingredients.
A study found that Pheretima aspergilum earthworms have a role in nerve cell regeneration. The study also stated that earthworms had the potential to improve signaling pathways in Schwann cells. This cell is a part that has an important role in healing damaged nerves. In other studies, scientists have observed the biochemical benefits of earthworm extracts on the repair of the nervous system. The study showed that administration of Lumbicrus type earthworm extracts could increase the regeneration of damaged nerve cells. However, this finding still needs to be further investigated. For the record, Lumbicrus is a type of earthworm that is often used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Another benefit of earthworms is as a soil pollution control agent. Earthworms are organisms that are able to accumulate certain ingredients in their bodies. Thus, earthworms can be very good living agents in monitoring the development of soil pollution in which they live.
This is important in nature conservation activities because by analyzing the content of pollutants in the body of earthworms, actions can be determined that need to be taken in improving the condition of polluted soils.
Many benefits of earthworms on the environment and the health of the human body, which cannot be underestimated. However, earthworms can also cause disease. Therefore, it is not recommended to walk barefoot on the ground and wash your hands after contact with the soil.