Tag Archives: Traditional Chinese Medicine

A Cheer for Leonardo diCaprio

It is quite a fight to save the earth’s resources from being plundered, isn’t it?

The latest news is that an alliance of European local authorities, US film stars, Japanese shops, soft drink companies and Russian foundations have thrown in $116 million to stop the extraction (for now) of 900 million barrels of crude oil form 1870 square kilometres of “core” Amazonian forest, Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/30/ecuador-paid-rainforest-oil-alliance

This land is home to two Indian tribes and more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species than anywhere on earth.

Ecuador agreed that if it could raise 50% of the revenue lost over 13 years, it would halt plans to drill the area.

I note that Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the contributors. He is a very impressive man in this regard. I believe he also made a significant contribution to Russia to protect Russia’s tigers. This brings me to my next item of interest…


It has now come to the point where armed guards have been deployed to protect India’s diminishing tiger population in the south of India.

From 40,000 wild tigers in 1947 they have now gone down to 1400 or thereabouts. Of course it was great sport to kill them. The British and the Rajahs of India used to enjoy nothing more than a good tiger hunt. The miracle is that there are any at all left alive. They were all wiped out in Singapore.

The biggest threat that tigers, rhino, elephants and sea horses face these days is Chinese traditional medicine. The bones of tigers are used in medicines where alternatives could quite easily be used.

Of course the other threat which will finally wipe all these creatures out is habitat destruction. We grudgingly set aside reserves for tigers and other wild animals and then the locals ‘eat’ away at the edges until finally the whole reserve has disappeared.

However, the above items are excellent news and I thank these governments and financial contributors for their valuable contributions in helping save the planet’s irreplaceable resources.

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Victory for Lab Animals – Sadness for Elephants

A couple of years ago I read that preparations were in place for testing everyday chemicals on five million lab animals.  Apparently, plans were afoot to double-test up to 6,000 chemicals in the programme.

Well, I’ve just seen PETA’s Animal Times for this quarter and they advise that because of their intervention, the European Chemical’s Agency has announced the adoption of a process that will spare as many as 4,410,000 animals from the tests! Isn’t this wonderful?

Since the figure I originally read was 5 million were to be tested, I guess that means that 600,000 will still be tested, but it’s still fantastic that 4.4 milion animals won’t have bleach poured down their throats.

That’s wonderful news for laboratory animals and I will certainly be sending PETA a donation as they do fantastic work for animals.

Sadly, the news is not so bright for elephants.

According to the 7.30 Report on Channel 2 last night, 37,000 elephants were slaughtered last year in Africa for their tusks. The tusks are used in Chinese traditional medicine. 

Although 75 people have armed themselves to protect the elephants, they too have been shot and sometimes killed.  Apparently the killing has accelerated due to a huge increase of seasonal workers from China.

However, as a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) myself, I know that the TCM societies around the world have implemented protocols of not using animal products in their herbal medicines. Products in herbal medicines are selected according to their heating, cooling, blood moving properties etc. However, plant medicines have the same effect as ivory, bear bile, seahorse, tiger bone and all the other animal products which have been traditionally used.

Fortunately, most countries ban the importation of ivory and I was pleased to see that Ebay has banned the sale of ivory products on its website.

So, how can it be that this astonishing number of elephants are being exterminated on a daily basis?  Why is it that the Asian countries have not twigged to the fact that once they’ve wiped out all the elephants, bears, sharks, tuna, tigers directly and all the orangutans indirectly, that there just won’t be any wildlife left? The food chain will be broken into little pieces and our own demise will surely be not far off. 

Of course, it’s not just Asian countries that have been responsible for the plundering of these animals, every country in the world has been complicit. However, the sale of ivory and tiger bone is directly linked to the Chinese herbal market; the demand for shark fin soup in Asia has shown no signs of abatement; bears are caged in Asian farms and ‘milked’ via tubes to their livers, for bile which is used in herbal preparations; bear paw is used in Asian dishes; Asian countries recently refused to ratify an agreement to reduce tuna fishing by 50% so that the world stocks of tuna could be allowed time to restock; and South-East Asian jungles are being burnt down at an alarming rate to make way for palm oil plantations – thus killing every plant and animal inhabitant therein – including orangutans, monkies, snakes, birds and tigers.

It is blatantly apparent that there is no hope for any of the exotic animals on earth. Although there are many, many good people working to save animals, it only takes a couple of dozen determined people with matches (as in the case of burning down jungles); high powered fishing boats; or high powered rifles, to wipe out any number of species.

Unfortunately, those responsible won’t be reading this blog. However, the best we can do is to stop eating tuna; never, ever eat shark soup; never, ever use ivory; and take care when reading labels to make sure that there are no palm oil products in your biscuits, cosmetics, chocolate, toothpaste etc and also that there is no bile in herbal preparations you might buy.

Good luck! It won’t be easy!


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