Traditional Chinese Medicine
Seahorses are highly regarded and
highly acclaimed in Chinese philosophy. Their value is spread
from generation to generation via folklore.
More than 20 million
seahorses are caught from the wild each year to supply the Traditional
Chinese Medicine market. People
have been using seahorses for thousands of years as a cure
for a variety of ailments. According to Project Seahorse over 70
countries are involved in the wild seahorse trade. They are
the year but especially from August to September. Major sources
include the Philippines, Indonesia and India. Wild populations
of seahorses used in Traditional Medicine are under threat
due to the extremely high demand.
species used include H. kelloggi (Kellogg’s
H. histrix (thorny seahorse), H.
kuda (yellow seahorse), H.
trimacullatus (low-crowned seahorse). The entire body
is normally used in a dry
form. Chinese medicine manuals refer to it as being "sweet
in taste, warm in nature, and enters the kidney and liver
Clinical uses: Tonifies the kidneys and fortifies
the Yang; used for impotence, urinary incontinence,
wheezing and old
age debilitation. It enlivens the blood, aiding circulation:
for bleeding and pain from congealed blood and swelling
due to sores
Combined with other foods such as certain fruits
or lean pork seahorses are used for treating frequent urination
and weak constitutions
in children. Impotence is often treated with seahorses steeped
in rice wine.
Contraindications: should be avoided during
pregnancy. It is not recommended for people with weak digestive
Endocrine effects: Alcohol extractions of Kellogg’s
seahorse prolonged the oestrus period and increased the
weight of the uterus
in normal female mice. It also gave emasculated mice an
Over the centuries and still today it is
regarded for its ‘powerful
masculine’ stimulant qualities.
has the capacity to produce many thousands of seahorses.
While the market continues to access wild
relatively low prices, with suitable marketing the
healthy condition and uniqueness of farmed seahorses may soon
allow them to become
an attractive alternative. Seahorse Australia is well
positioned to breed large numbers of quality seahorses
for the traditional
Chinese medicine market should the market price increase
sufficiently. This will ultimately help take the pressure
away from wild
seahorse populations around the world.