Encouraging news from the Chinese medicine community.
The President of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) has released a statement opposing the use of rhino horn in medicines.
Prepared for this week’s CITES Standing Committee meeting in Geneva, ACTCM/CCAOM President Lixin Huang’s written statement emphasized that rhino horn is no longer approved for use, and there is no evidence to support wild claims of rhino horn’s effectiveness as a cancer treatment.
There is no evidence that rhino horn is an effective cure for cancer and this is not documented in TCM nor is it approved by the clinical research in traditional Chinese medicine.
Huang suggested that the recent escalation of rhino killings in South Africa, along with the involvement of organized crime, is driven by the “non-traditional and unproven use” of rhino horn as a cancer treatment.
Some individuals and organizations with little understanding of the essence and modern development of TCM misinterpret and exaggerate the medicinal properties of rhino horns. Such misinterpretation shows little respect for the TCM profession and medical practices, and is harmful to rhino conservation efforts.
She explained that the traditional use of rhino horn in Chinese folk medicine was for treating ailments such as fever and carbuncles, and that rhino horn was removed from Chinese pharmacopeia in 1993.
On behalf of the ACTCM and CCAOM, Huang reiterated that both organizations encourage rhino and tiger conservation, and support national and international laws banning the use of, and trade in, rhino and tiger products.
From Lixin Huang’s statement:
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine would –
- Reiterate that rhino horn is no longer approved for use by the traditional Chinese medicine profession and there is no traditional use, nor any evidence for the effectiveness of, rhino horn as a cure for cancer.
- Encourage members of the CITES Standing Committee to take strong action to ensure that rhino range and consumer states receive all support necessary to ensure that illegal international trade is stopped.
- Encourage members of the Standing Committee to take decisive action where these Parties are not taking the necessary steps to protect and conserve the world’s last remaining rhinos
‘Education’ needed in rhino horn consumer countries
Britain will also address the CITES Standing Committee this week with an EU proposal calling for “targeted educational campaigns to raise awareness about the lack of evidence supporting claims that rhino horn has certain medicinal properties.”
Source: Huang, L. “Statement opposing the use of rhino horn in medicines by the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.” (2011) CITES. Geneva, Switzerland.
Image © Saving Rhinos LLC