There are many misguided “miracle cures” associated with Rhino horn powder. Over the years, people have erroneously believed the horn powder has the power to cure fevers, hallucinations, vomiting and even “devil possession”. And model Elle Macpherson recently caught major flack for suggesting that consumption of horn powder from the endangered rhino is beneficial to one’s skin complexion.
Well, research has proven otherwise.
A few years back, researchers who examined the components of rhino horn determined that the main component is keratin, the same material found in human fingernails, toenails and hair. Keratin doesn’t have any medicinal properties — ala, there is no benefit in consuming it. Another study, this one conducted by Swiss pharmaceutical group Hoffman-La Roche, found that “rhino horn had no effect on the human body whatsoever, good or bad.” [source]
Despite this, rhino horn powder is reportedly sold on the black market for $10,0000-$30,0000 per pound.
In large part because of the bizarre beliefs associated with the powder from the animals’ horn, rhinos are on the verge of extinction. According to the Honolulu Zoo website, “Between 1970 and 1992 the black rhino populations were reduced by 96%, reaching a low of 2,410 animals in 1995.”
The killing of endangered rhinos because of ancient traditional beliefs is a fixable problem. Consumers buying rhino horn powder simply need to be educated as to the damage they are doing and shown they are extinguishing a species — all the while wasting their money on a product that carries no medical benefit.
In the video below, a scientist — who studied rhino horn — explains that it has no medical value.
photo credit: wikimedia commons