Credited with everything from curing the common cold to attracting Mr Right, Korea's quintessential kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) is now being lauded by scientists as effective against bird flu.

Researchers at Seoul National University conducted trials in which chickens with avian flu were fed the active lactic acid bacterium abundantly present in kimchi and showed a marked recovery.

Of the 13 infected chickens given the kimchi extract, 11 of them recovered a week later, according to the Korea Times. Reports of the findings have sent kimchi sales soaring all over Asia. Korea produces about 460 thousand tons of kimchi and exports about $78m worth of the pungent delicacy each year.