South Korea customs seized capsules made from dead babies

South Korea cracks down on human flesh capsules from China

South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies, which some people believe can cure disease, officials said Monday.

The capsules were made in northeastern China from babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder, the Korea Customs Service said.

The customs office has discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters, and some people believe them to be a panacea for disease, the customs service said in a statement. The capsules of human flesh, however, contained bacteria and other harmful ingredients.

The smugglers told customs officials they believed the capsules were ordinary stamina boosters and did not know the ingredients or manufacturing process.

Tip from Christina Dahl

What a horrifying story, if true. Pulverized dead baby flesh used as diet supplement?

Obvious questions arise: how to they know the ingredients and source, how could it happen, why would people believe in such medicinal value?

None of these questions are clear from this piece but Traditional Chinese medicine is explained by prescientific, magical ideas that do not stand up to scrutiny today. Certainly, their efficacy has not been proven.

Babies for stamina? That is gruesome.

Remember, you never know what could be in these unregulated, untested remedies. It can’t get much worse than this but it is dangerous nonetheless.

  4 comments for “South Korea customs seized capsules made from dead babies

  1. May 7, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    1. Apparently placenta is a traditional remedy, so unless there is a lot more proof about the specifics, how would that test differently?

    2. Blood libel has a lot of different forms, be it baking the blood of Christians into bread or stealing children for organs from Latin America (or as a group of police in Peru used a couple of years ago to try and hog the press away from investigations of other activities, fat stolen by pishtacos).

    3. Given all the other sorts of things I’ve heard about in traditional remedies, I’m not entirely willing to completely discount it.

    4. Momia.

    I expect this will likely turn out to be BS, but it won’t matter. It makes good press, and serves far too many political points for interested parties.

  2. May 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM
  3. May 7, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    And here’s the Daily Mail edition, which I figure is fitting as that’s where I first saw today’s story.

  4. F89
    May 7, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Northeastern China? Possibly from the DPRK? (but that’s just a guess)

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