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Tigers in Traditional Chinese Medicine

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation


Extract from the NatGeo article exploring the history and use of tiger parts in Traditional Chinese Medicine: “Nearly every part of this cat, from nose to tail ‎ (eyes, whiskers, brains, flesh, blood, organs and more) has been used to treat a lengthy list of maladies. Tiger parts are purported to heal the liver and kidneys, to cure everything from epilepsy, baldness, toothaches, joint pain and boils to ulcers, nightmares, fevers, and headaches. They’re also used to treat rat bites and laziness and are thought to prevent possession by evil demons. Tiger penis is said to have aphrodisiac powers.

China formally banned domestic trade of tiger bone in 1993. The next year, some Chinese medical practitioners publicly repudiated the use and efficacy of tiger remedies; today, very few pharmacies still openly carry remedies containing tiger products. But the market slipped underground and shadowy networks still thrive. Though tiger hunting is illegal everywhere, the killing has continued, and in some places, it’s accelerated.

Prices for tigers, dead or alive, continue to soar as populations collapse. Poaching for their bones (and skins) has become a primary threat to their survival.”

Please help TigerTime continue to raise awareness and ban the trade in tiger parts by going here

A partial list of traditional medicine uses for tiger parts:

Bile: Used to treat convulsions in children
Blood: Used to strengthen the constitution and build willpower
Bone: Used as an anti-inflammatory to arthritis, rheumatism, back problems, general weakness, or headaches; also considered a powerful tonic
Brain: A treatment for laziness and pimples
Claws: A sedative for sleeplessness
Eyeballs: A treatment for malaria and epilepsy, nervousness or fevers in children, convulsions and cataracts
Fat: Prescribed for dog bites, vomiting, hemorrhoids
Faeces: A cure for boils, hemorrhoids and alcoholism
Flesh: Used to treat nausea and malaria, to bring vitality and tone the stomach and spleen
Feet: Used to ward off evil spirits
Fur: Is burnt to drive away centipedes
Nose leather: Used to treat bites and other superficial wounds, for epilepsy and children’s convulsions
Penis: Used as an aphrodisiac or love potion
Skin: Used to cure fever caused by ghosts and mental illness
Stomach: Prescribed for stomach upsets
Teeth: Prescribed for rabies, asthma, and genital sores
Tail: Used to cure skin diseases
Whiskers: Used to treat toothaches

Read the full article by Sharon Guynup in National Geographic here

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