Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The myth of Tiger medicine - Man, the predator's predator

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Tiger bones,  good ol' traditional Chinese medicines.www.doctorramey.com

Tiger, the most fearsome animal, is revered by the Asian people  for its strength and bravery. But this animal has become endangered because of continuous hunting for several centuries. Towards the end of 19th century itself in the colonial period in India, the tiger population of India came down drastically for for lack of conservation, etc., In some African countries, and many Asian countries like China, Indonesia, etc., the tiger was  and is being hunted for different reasons.

Man's quest for remedy for various diseases took him to altogether a new area of source - numerous animals like tigers, rhinos, pangolin, etc. In India  parts of peacock, wolf, fox, fruit bat, etc., are being used for medicine. In China, particularly, tiger is a prized animal  and every part of it is used to cure for some ailment or hormone deficiency. Reason: The fundamental assumption is tiger is a brave and fearsome animal and any tiger  medication will be good for the humans. It is a misconception, bordering on superstition. Use of traditional tiger medicine, known for several centuries, has not come down. After industrialization
in the 1980s and 1990s, on the contrary,in China, it has gone up.

Tiger Paws and Animals chinese medicine.www.oceanwideimages.com

Medications  prepared from parts of such animals are useless, scientifically not proven and unethical. In spite of their uselessness, there is a great demand for medicine or items like charm, talisman, tiger wine etc., and they get a good price.

Despite strict government laws and licensed tiger farming, world over poaching continues to be a menace and the poachers get a good price for the animals. TCM - traditional tiger medicine makers  get their quota of supply from poaching. 


Unfortunately in many counties in Asia tigers' main predators are humans - by way of illegal hunting and poaching. The governments have to fight it out relentlessly to catch the human predators on the prowl some where in the dark jungles of Asia.''Habitat destruction'' is also another reason for the fall of tiger population world over. 
Some of the uses are as follows:
 

01. Small bones in a tiger's feet tied to a child's wrists are said to be a sure cure for 'convulsions;' other bones: used as an anti - and pimples inflammatory drug to treat
 

02. Tigers genital part:  preparation of 'aphrodisiac' medicine.
 

03. Pills made from eye balls: cure for 'convulsions; also used to treat epilepsy and malaria
  

04. Possession of tiger's claw or wearing a piece of jewelery: supposed to instill 'courage.'
 

05. Tiger's heart: - consumption will improve 'courage, strength and agility.'
 

06. Oil preparation with brain: regular usage is good for 'acne' and other skin problems.
 

07. Tiger's skin:  to drive away 'ghosts or evil spirits' (may be a good news for the owners of haunted house!!). so is tiger's leg dipped in oil and kept in front of the house- to ward off evil spirits.

08. Tigers tail: when ground and made into ointment - cure for 'skin cancer';   also used to treat skin sedative for insomnia diseases


09. Teeth: used to treat fever

10. Fat: used to treat leprosy and convulsions in children rheumatism associated with meningitis.'

The list goes on and on. Unless people think rationally, the tiger can not be taken off the list of endangered animal in the near future.

 Some facts:

 Tiger Subspecies: 3 of the 9 tiger subspecies have already become extinct. Caspian tiger: second largest tiger, became extinct in 1950s; Javan: second smallest tiger with long stripes became extinct in the 1980s;  These 3 subspecies have gone extinct in the past 70 years.  Bali Tiger: Smallest and darkest skin.It was the first tiger to go extinct.The last recorded Bali Tiger died in 1937.

The three subspecies Bali, Caspian and Javan became extinct in the last 70 years.

White Bengal Tiger:  This is the world’s largest cat! considered a recessive (generally weighs more than mutant 500 pounds).

''Chinese authorities have disclosed that, in 1991, exports of tiger bone medicines included 15,079 cartons of tablets, 5,250kg of liquid medicines, and 31,500 bottles of wine.”

Ref:

http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/indo chinestiger/indochinesetiger

http://www.slideshare.net/MarkMcGinley/endangered-species-brittany-lancaster

 http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/29/tigers-in-traditional-chinese-medicine-a-universal-apothecary/

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