Nature’s Viagra? Seahorse’s future threatened by Chinese sex drug obsession

seahorses restricted exlarge
Image: Amanda Vincent/Project Seahorse

In Chinese medicine, seahorses are believed to have Viagra-like powers. Hong Kong is the world’s largest trading hub for the dried animal. Sarah Foster, program manager of Project Seahorse at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said that analysis of global trade data shows that Hong Kong was responsible for around two thirds of all seahorse imports from 2004 to 2017. The World Wildlife Fund has reported that their popularity as a medicine is also driving sales in China, Taiwan and Indonesia.

While nobody knows how many seahorse are left in the world, experts say they are under threat.

“According to Chinese medicine theory, seahorse is nourishing … and gives the body more energy,” he said. Mixed with herbs and boiled as a tea, dried seahorses are most commonly used to treat asthma and male sexual dysfunction, including impotence and premature ejaculation, he said.

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[Director of the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Lixing] Lao said there isn’t there any scientific evidence that seahorses could relieve asthma or boost sexual performance, adding that there had not been any clinical trials carried out on humans in this area.

Read full, original post: Used as a natural Viagra in Chinese medicine, seahorse numbers are declining

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