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VietNamNews

Scientists find new plant cures to save rare animals

Update: November, 04/2013 - 14:00
Vietnamese scientists have discovered 46 medicinal plant species and remedies that may be able to replace endangered wildlife products used to cure diseases.— Photo khoahoc

HA NOI (VNS)—Vietnamese scientists have discovered 46 medicinal plant species and remedies that may be able to replace endangered wildlife products used to cure diseases.

The discovery was made by a project aimed to improve the conservation of rare animals including bears, rhinos, pangolins and tigers.

The collection and testing of a wide number medicinal plants deemed to have the same medicinal effects as endangered animals, particularly native bears, was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health's National Institute of Medicinal Materials and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Officials hope the development will reduce the consumption of wildlife products for medicinal purposes and replace the demand for rare animal products.

In Viet Nam, wildlife products such as rhino horn, bear bile and tiger bone are used to detoxify the body, reduce fevers, improve health and prevent diseases.

Nguyen Thanh Huyen, head of the institute's Medicine Resource Department said that there was no official scientific research that rhino horn was an effective cure for diseases.

"The institute is a comprehensive research unit in the field of medicine, but it has had no studies evaluating the medicinal effects of rhino horn," she said.

"The use of rhino horn for medical purposes should be based on scientific facts not folklore."

Viet Nam is home to more than 4,000 medicinal plant species. Experts are hoping the study of potential ingredients beneficial to human health will reduce the risk of extinction. -- VNS

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