A widely published acupuncture and herbal medicine journal has launched a campaign to protect endangered species. The Journal of Chinese Medicine has launched an information campaign focusing on an initial select group of species that have been used in the making of herbal formulas. The campaign is designed to create awareness of the issue and to discourage acupuncturists and herbalists from using products made with these endangered species. The educational material is distributed via email and on their website.
Topping the list is the Asiatic black bear. Poaching has depleted the numbers of these bears significantly and farming of these bears has revealed severe animal cruelty issues. The bear gallbladder, Xiong Dan, and bile has powerful medicinal properties. Alternatives include synthetics and the gallbladder and bile from animals that have already been processed for food.
Pangolins, scaly anteaters, come in at number two on the list. The scales, Chuan Shan Jia, are used to invigorate blood circulation, reduce swellings, fight wind-dampness (arthritis) and several other functions. The Journal of Chinese Medicine recommends taking the advice of the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture. They note that Wang Bu Liu Xing, a seed in ample supply, is a viable replacement for the pangolin scales.
The tiger is number three on the list. Although tiger bone (Hu Gu) has strengthening properties, there are very few left on the planet. The Journal of Chinese Medicine suggests non-endangered replacements and plant-based alternatives to tiger bone.
The Journal of Chinese Medicine notes that over-fishing of seahorses for herbal medicine and for aquariums has caused dramatic depletion of their numbers. The Journal of Chinese Medicine recommends the plant based herbals She Chuang Zi and Yin Yang Huo as alternatives to using Hai Ma (seahorse). The Journal of Chinese Medicine details alternatives to other endanered animals on the list: the rhinoceros, saiga antelope and musk deer. There is reason to be optimistic as this type of attention reflects a concerted effort to protect these animals. One of the most respected journals in the profession in the UK, The Journal of Chinese Medicine has taken an important step in this public outreach effort to change the herbal marketplace towards sustainability and a more humanitarian approach to medicine.
This is the same forward thinking group that came out with the Manual of Acupuncture for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. In an earlier review at HealthCMi, we gave a perfect score for this must-have App. Video point location instructions, user-friendliness and excellent details on acupuncture points make this an incredible value for all acupuncturists. The Journal of Chinese Medicine was founded in 1979 by Peter Deadman and is clearly showing a sensitivity to global concerns and quality educational materials.