22nd September marked World Rhino Day, organisations such as rhinoconservation.org do essential work in highlighting the threat to this endangered species. Tragically there is an increase in illegal poaching of rhino horn for use in herbal medicine.
There is a mistaken belief that Rhino Horn can cure cancer. Professional bodies representing Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners around the world have condemned the use of rhino horn and have categorically stated that rhino horn has no medical properties.
The UK’s Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine strongly condemns the illegal trade in endangered species and has a strict policy prohibiting the use of any type of endangered species by any of its members and no animal, mineral or endangered species are used. The illegal poaching of rhinos is not only abhorrent but is also an abuse of the Confucian principles that form some of the philosophical foundations of Chinese medicine that centre on respecting nature, living in harmony with and minimising our impact on the planet.
Members of the RCHM only use approved suppliers of herbal medicine who provide sustainable and responsibly sourced herbs. The herbs and soil they are grown in are tested at each stage from planting, harvesting to processing for heavy metals and pollutants. Only herbs passing strict quality assurance standards are used.
Much of the world’s population rely on herbal medicine as their primary form of health care and many pharmaceuticals are derived from plant species. Artemisia Annua a herb that has been used in China for centuries to treat malaria like symptoms has now been synthesised to create new drugs to combat Malaria, still the largest cause of death1. Traditional herbal formulas are constantly being researched and traditional knowledge is being supported by modern research, recent research has shown that a traditional Chinese herbal formula can increase the quality of life for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and is suitable for long-term use2.
When going for a herbal Medicine consultation always ensure that the herbalist is a member of a recognised professional body such as the RCHM, Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM), or the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH). Ensure that the herbalist only uses an approved supplier of medical herbs.
If you are interested in learning more about how Chinese herbal medicine can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.
Learn more about Rhino Conservation by visiting: http://www.rhinoconservation.org/2011/08/15/tcm-educators-speak-out-against-use-of-rhino-horn/
Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
Rhino Horn Image sourced from rhinoconservation.org