Say good-bye to the Pangolin

Say good-bye to the Pangolin

The appeal to popularity: if 4.5 billion people (the population of Asia) use a medicine, there must be something to it.  Nope. Not if it is Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine (TCPM) and you are one of many animals or plants being driven to extinction by it's endless hunger.

What's the harm of TCPM? Ask Asiatic black bears, Tigers, Seahorses, Rhinoceros, Saiga antelope, Musk deer, and the Pangolin.

The Pangolin is an anteater and is used for

Chuan Shan Jia [Manitis Squama/Pangolin scales] is classified as salty and cool and as entering the Liver and Stomach channels. It is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to disperse blood stasis (for promoting menstruation and lactation), reducing swelling and promoting discharge of pus (for abscesses and boils etc.) and for expelling wind-dampness (for pain due to rehumatism/arthritis).

Back in 1938, Nature reported

The animal itself is eaten, but a greater danger arises from the belief that the scales have medicinal value. Fresh scales are never used, but dried scales are roasted, ashed, cooked in oil, butter, vinegar, boy’s urine, or roasted with earth or oyster-shells, to cure a variety of ills. Amongst these are excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness.

Killing off a species from an understanding of disease that has no basis in physiology;  a fictional illness and an equally fictional treatment leading to a very real extinction. It is, however, well known that ogre possession and malarial fever have the same pathophysiology, but the treatment is not Pangolin.

Instead of the Pangolin, one site suggests the equally useless cowherb seed as an equivilent.  I doubt it.  

Over three tons of pangolin scales were recently seized. That's about 8000 pangolins and worth 17 million dollars. With enormous demand and people willing to pay large sums for the scales and meat, at a rate of 50,000 killed a year, the pangolin is likely to follow the rhinoceros into oblivion.  And all for nothing.

Creeping Quackademia
Points of Interest 9/8/2014