Endangered species in traditional medicine

Rhino are the most famous animals that are poached for traditional medicine – purported to relieve fever and high blood pressure, convulsions, circulatory problems and kidney conditions. Water buffalo horn is considered an alternative to rhino horn, but this too has been hunted to excess, particularly in Laos, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The sun bear, once widespread across Southeast Asia, is now found mostly in protected areas in Cambodia. It is one of the bear species hunted for its gall bladder, used to treat burns, asthma and cancer.

Although international trade in tigers has been banned since 1987, the popularity of using tiger parts as medicines – from the animal’s bones to eyes to claws – has resulted in the decline of the animal to a few thousand in small pockets in Asia.

The freshwater Chinese alligator, which number fewer than 200 in the wild, partly due to habitat destruction, is hunted for its meat, which is said to cure colds and prevent cancer, and its organs. Captive breeding and reintroduction to the wild is helping the species to recover.

Here’re are some other animals used as medicine and what they are purported to do:

Animal Used for
Hedgehog skin Rheumatism
Newts Stomachaches
Snake skin Skin eruptions, eye infections, cataracts, sore throat and hemorrhoids
Spanish flies Aphrodisiac
Bee venom Rheumatism, arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and multiple sclerosis
Saïga Antilope horn Fever and convulsions
Leaches Abscesses, joint pain, glaucoma, myasthenia, vascular diseases and thromboses
Blood of the Chinese Pond Turtle Cancer
Pangolin scales Skin problems and milk production (mothers)
Toad venom Liver, lung or pancreatic cancer
Tiger bones Rheumatism, convulsions, ulcers, typhoid fever, malaria, scabies, carbuncles and dysentery

For more see http://especesmenacees.ca/en/pharmacopeia.php

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