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SOS Rhino : In the News : Sum of all parts

Sum of all parts

  The Star, Malaysia
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

HERE IS a sampling of animal and plant parts sold by a typical apothecary catering to traditional Chinese medicine.

Bear: Fat, brain, spinal cord and other parts used to treat everything from cancer to general pain. Gall bladder ˝milked'' for bile which is made into medicine for liver disorders. Meat also prized, with paws sometimes cut off while the bears are still alive. Bears sometimes boiled alive in vats of water.

Tiger: Another ˝walking drug store'', with almost every part used as powder, balms, pills or meat to be eaten. Penis is used as an aphrodisiac, bones for arthritis and muscular atrophy, claws against insomnia, fat to fight leprosy, and brain to clear pimples. A tiger on the black market can fetch up to US$10,000 (RM38,000).

Slow loris: Fur of this big-eyed, tree-dwelling primate is believed to accelerate healing of wounds. Extract from eyeballs is turned into love potion.

Civet cat: Anal scent gland used in potion to induce abortion. Used in Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix soup, for fighting arthritis, stimulating blood flow, and pepping up libido.

Rhinoceros: Decimated over centuries in the belief that the horn can cure fevers, convulsions, delirium, headaches, heart and liver problems, toothaches, and snake bites. The horn is more valuable by weight than gold; other rhino parts are also highly prized.

Dendrobium orchids: Stems of wild golden yellow or pink flowers are processed for medicine and tonics to replenish bodily fluids, ease stomach pains, mouth sores, and sunstroke. Balms are said to make skin soft, moist, and beautiful.

Wild ginseng: Tonic from root believed to slow aging, enhance vitality, build up resistance to psychological and physical stress, and generally strengthen immune system. Ă AP