For many years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been hitting the headlines – but not always for positive reasons. There has been a long-standing debate about using animal products for medicinal reasons, especially in TCM. Traditionally, Chinese Medicine uses approximately 1,000 plant and 36 animal species, including tiger, rhinoceros, black bear, deer, snake and even sea horse – most of which are now endangered.
The Medicines for Human Use Regulation in 2010 required that holders of manufacturer’s licenses must comply with certain obligations. One of those obligations stated that all manufacturers should ensure that product labels should clarify whether or not it contains cells or tissues of animals and the origin of those cells. However, as you may have noticed none of our products states animal cells or tissue. That is because since the birth of our company, it has always been Phoenix’s code of conduct to not supply animal products and we will never supply animal products.
However, some other countries still do use animal products. In 1993, China banned the domestic trade of tiger’s bones, and TCM removed tiger bone from its official pharmacopoeia. Despite this, today there are as few as 5,000-7,000 tigers in the wild, with an extra 5,000 tigers being raised on farms in China. However in 2007, under pressure from tiger farm owners, China announced a plan to lift its trade ban on parts from farmed tigers, despite opposition from conservation groups and many countries. If China legalises trade in tiger parts, experts agree the poaching of wild tigers will increase.
Much like tiger parts, black bear parts and bile were traditionally used in CHM. Although substitutes for bear bile exist, there is still a huge demand for the real thing. Because of the significant reduction in the population of black bears, bear farming was introduced in China in 1984. On these farms, bears are confined to small cages where their bile is extracted through catheters, which is an extremely painful and sometimes deadly ordeal. Some experts and conservation groups believe the introduction of bear farms hasn’t had an effect on the poaching of wild bears meaning thousands of bears are being killed for their bile.
The popularity of rhinoceros in TCM has been a major factor in the reduction of the rhino population in Africa and Asia. Decocted rhinoceros horn is favoured in China as it is thought to treat fever, convulsions and delirium. There are only about 6,000 wild rhinos left in the world and all three Asian species are critically endangered. Despite protective laws, poaching continues as the demand for rhino horn on the Asian market continues. Captive-breeding is now the only hope for some species.
We strongly believe that the usage of endangered animal parts has no place in the 21st century and will do our utmost to continue setting the standard in the UK and EU. We offer over 600 herbs and there are a number of substitutes we can offer. If you are unsure of what alternatives are available, please get in contact and we will be happy to advise you. Every batch of our herbs is fully traceable to its original source and is provided with a full Certificate of Analysis which screens for active ingredients, pesticides, microbiology and heavy metals, to not only comply with EU regulations but to ensure you and your patients know exactly what you are getting.
If you have any further questions regarding quality assurance, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01245 350822 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.