Endangered Animals Found in Traditional Chinese Medicines

Researchers from Murdoch University in Australia detected potential toxins in powers, tablets, capsules, flakes and herbal teas used in traditional chinese medicine. They also found the DNA of endangered animals.

“Some of the TCMs contained plants of the genus Ephedra and Asarum. These plants contain chemicals which can be toxic if the wrong dosage is taken, but none of them actually listed concentrations on the packaging,” said research leader Dr Mike Bunce. (Source: SF Gate) Is it more disturbing the traditional chinese medicine products contain potential toxins, or that the labeling contains no information about their concentrations? Equally shocking is that some of the products tested were shown to contain traces of black bear and Saiga antelope. Other samples contained parts of species which are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.

“We found multiple samples that contained DNA from animals listed as trade-restricted according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Legislation. Put simply, these TCMs are illegal,”said Megan Coglan, one of the researchers. (Source: SF Gate)

The tests also revealed deceptive labeling. A product claiming to be 100% Saiga antelope, actually contained goat and sheep DNA. More importantly, Saiga antelope are critically endangered because poachers keep killing them based on the false belief their horns have medicinal properties.

These unscientific and very outdated beliefs are driving the trade in illegal wildlife, which include rhino horn and tiger parts. Some TCM products should never be used, because they may harm consumers and cause rampant destruction of wild species. A New Zealand professor said of the DNA research, “I personally would not use or recommend any TCM biological product for the reasons outlined above.”
(Source: New Zealand Herald)

Image Credit: Tiarescott


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Lynn Demsky
Lynn D4 years ago

China's people need to be taught about their old ancient beliefs! It thoroughly disgusts me and we ALL need to be more careful about the things we buy and NOT buy products made by them, thanks for article!

Sue H.
.5 years ago

It is about time the Chinese government educated the Chinese people about all the unfounded beliefs in the old medicines.

Nr B.
Nancy B5 years ago


Lucille P.
Lucille P5 years ago

Chinese medicines need to stop containing animals

Bernard Cronyn
5 years ago

Gabriel T. I wish you the very best of luck if you perchance end up with a virulent infection that might easily be treated with Western antibiotics but instead you opt for Chinese snake oil or tiger's bones or whatever other quackery you favour. Hopefully you will also treat your children thus if very ill. I bet when you have surgery you do not rely on a thousand year old Chinese anesthetic or does your screaming mask the pain? Presumably you also rely on other ancient Chinese inventions like the abacus for calculations and the ox-cart for transport. I wonder how you get on the Internet with your abacus.

sheri denato
Past Member 5 years ago

no china , especially dog treats!!

Veronique C.
Véronique C5 years ago

La Chine n' a aucun respect des animaux à part quelques protecteurs qui sont bien peu nombreux.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

oh my gosh! what the hell?! why would anyone want animal DNA in medicine to start with? very disturbing

trina firey
Trina D. firey5 years ago

Stop buying from China
Buy USA made or any other country, not China.
If we boycott their products they will listen to our
many complaints
-about animal killings
-about human rights
-about product & food safety

Gabriel T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Chinese medicine has developed for thousands of years having an integral view (Tao) of human being in the nature and deseases that affect its body. Sadly, this view appears to be desappearing.
Superstition, on the other hand, is more like believing in western medicine dogmas, such as killing bacteria and viruses -by injecting venom into the body or cooking every food- is going to be "good" to human life. The word "good" (could have been "evil" or "bad") is used here to warn about a superstitious belief.
Finally, whatever is the issue, this comment list has been useful to show up xenophobia, as much as hate to chinese people, from the members of this community. This is maybe the logical consequence of an article oriented to degrade other people's practices and believes. This is called to judge, which leads to put other different value to other people. This unnatural and narrow perspective is what leads to wars.
This is only my opinion.
Thank you all for your sincerity.