The Swiftlet bird or scientifically named Collocalia, or known as Walet in Indonesia, is belongs to the Apodidae family, which is not the same as the common Swallow bird. Swiftlet birds live in flocks along tropical seaside and consume wild insects. From the appearance, Swiftlet differs from the so called "House Swallow" size wise.
Swallows make their nest from tiny tree branches, dry grass, or even mud, and their nests are certainly not edible. Meanwhile, an edible-nest swiftlets, which can only be found in the tropical coastal areas, make their nests by regurgitating the saliva.
The saliva is produced by a pair of large salivery glands under the tongue, which can be hardened when it exposed to air. The precious swiftlet nests are therefore actually the dried saliva of the swiftlets, and they are the only swallow's nests constructed entirely from saliva. It is the only edible swallow's nest beneficial to human body. Hence, swallow's nest is also referred to as bird's nest.
The edible bird's nests are become the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years, most often as bird's nest soup or other variants of herbal and medical foods.
There are three different types of edible swallow nest: cave swiftlet, the featherd swallow and grass swiftlet. Swallow nest is also classified according to its colors: white, blood-red and yellow, even grey and purple. Different colors exist in the nests because swiftlets feed on different food which makes the nest having different colors. White nests are generally smooth, while yellow and blood-red nests are crunchier because they contain more minerals than white nests.
Bird’s nest is the food of the rich. It contain a cell division inducing hormone and an epithelial growth factor that can stimulate the growth and division of cells, thereby enhancing tissue growth, cellular regeneration and cell-mediated immunity in humans.
Scientific evidence shows the notion that the bird's nest can facilitate growth, replenish strength and vital energy, accelerate the recovery from disease and reinforce immunity. The specific animal proteins in an edible bird's nest have the following three functions; which is to stimulate the regeneration of cells, to enhance cell-mediated immunity and to enhance the resistance of an individual to X-irradiated damage. This is the main reason why the proteins of other precious medicinal foods like the sea cucumber, abalone, scallop, and egg cannot be compared to those contained in the edible bird's nest.
Moreover, the consumption of bird's nest during pregnancy can increase nutrition and improve the overall health of the mother and child and will give the infant a flexible mind. Woman consuming bird's nest after giving birth can recover more quickly and slim rapidly to help maintain their beauty. Also, children require more nutrition during their growing period. Being fed with bird's nests can help strengthen the body and stimulate the growth of the brain. Edible bird's nest not only tastes good but when served with rock sugar, fresh milk or oatmeal aids digestion and constipation.
For youngsters, always consuming bird's nest can enhance metabolism, strengthen various body functions and reinforce immunity. Bird's nests are also beneficial to people who have just recovered from illness, who are old and weak, who suffer from asthma and who are always catching the cold or influenza. It is particularly effective to those who have sleep disorders, bronchitis, coughs or hangovers. Bird's nests also show obvious therapeutic effects to help moisturize and replenish the lung and clear away intestinal heat.
By those beneficial, it proves that the precious bird’s nest is worth to be the healthiest product that can be consumed and be used by human.