Edible bird's nests are believed to have high nutritional and medicinal value. This is why it can cost up to $4500 per pound.

There are many vague claims about the benefits of eating birds' nests. For example, Singapore's EZHealth magazine claims:

As it is rich in protein, collagen and other nutrients and minerals, the consumption of bird’s nest is scientifically proven to have several health benefits, such as stimulating the regeneration of cells, strengthening our immune and respiratory system, and improving the performance of our internal organs.

I wonder whether it is really beneficial to consume bird's nest, given that it is only made from the saliva of cave-dwelling birds called swiftlets.

So, is there any scientific evidence that demonstrates that birds' nests stimulate the regeneration of cells?

  • 4
    Can you clarify what you mean by "beneficial?
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 12, 2016 at 11:21
  • I started looking at the scientific literature on this but the problem is that there's a lot of it, and the review articles are sometimes in predatory open access journals...
    – Avery
    Feb 12, 2016 at 11:41
  • 1
    @Sklivvz , see the last paragraph of my question . I think it clarifies enough
    – Graviton
    Feb 12, 2016 at 12:30
  • @Graviton: I am afraid it doesn't. We need some specific claim we can investigate.
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 12, 2016 at 18:07
  • 1
    @Oddthinking, I've listed some of the beneficial claims of bird nest. Can we now reopen this question?
    – Graviton
    Feb 13, 2016 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


These claims are all pseudo-scientific. There is no good evidence of the birds' nests having medical value. (It is not even clear that the claim of "stimulating the regeneration of cells" is necessarily a beneficial thing.)

A paper reviewing the evidence was written in 2012, *Sketch of the edible bird's nest and its important bioactivities. Despite the authors being very optimistic about the (undemonstrated) potential benefits of the food, they were forced to conclude:

its bioactivities and medicinal value are still open to question as there are not much scientific research on the medicinal properties. Not many components contributing to the biological functions of edible bird's nest have been isolated and purified from the nest so far. This reason along with the nests' high price makes the procedure of investigating the bioactivity of the edible bird's nest more difficult. As there is a mess in the use of classification methods of edible bird's nests at present, it's important for future researchers to make clear what species their nests belong to. More proteome and genome studies should be carried out to thoroughly investigate edible bird's nest. More scientific work should be done to elucidate the biological and medicinal functions of the nest.

In short, there is no reason to believe birds' nests treat any illnesses and the proponents aren't even clear which species of birds should be used for their nests. Chinese Traditional Medicine is a pseudo-science.

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