sea cucumber, trepang
Beche-de-mer (sea cucumbers) are sea-dwelling echinoderms similar to sea stars and sea urchins. In Asia, where they are considered a delicacy, they are dried and pulverized and used in foods. Sea cucumbers contain chondroitin, thought to help joint pain and stiffness from arthritis. They are in demand for health supplements, although there is no documented proof of effectiveness. The sea cucumber grows slowly, raising concerns about management of their harvest. Commercially, it is also known as trepang.