Herbalists decry bear bile use
HA NOI — Viet Nam's traditional medicine practitioners are opposed to bear bile farming, according to a recent survey.
The survey carried out by the Animals Asia Foundation of 152 traditional medicine practitioners in Viet Nam revealed that 93 per cent of Viet Nam's traditional medicine practitioners were opposed to bear bile farming and 76 per cent had never prescribed bear bile.
Twenty-four per cent of practitioners surveyed had prescribed bear bile to treat medical conditions ranging from bruises, fever, poor blood circulation, and cirrhosis. The responses suggest however that bear bile is not safe for human consumption with respondents reporting seven cases of bear bile poisoning, four of which (57 per cent) had resulted in death.
Respondents commented that bear bile is expensive, poor in quality and not scientifically proven as a treatment. Thirty-nine herbal alternatives to bear bile were identified by the traditional medicine practitioners, with 45 per cent naming cay mat gau (bear bile plant) as a replacement treatment. Animals Asia Foundation is aware of 54 herbal alternatives that can be used instead of bear bile in China.
Bear bile does not have a prominent role in traditional medicine with only a handful of around 1,500 remedies containing bear bile, according to Dr Nguyen Xuan Huong, chairman of the Traditional Medicine Association of Viet Nam. — VNS