Some stockpiles come from rhinos who have died of natural causes, others are contraband seized at customs or confiscated from poachers, and many arise from dehorning programmes undertaken by both government and individuals. Rhino farmers in South Africa dehorn their rhinos to discourage poaching and therefore protect the endangered species, but breeding and dehorning rhinos also creates a potential cash crop.
Conserved, inventoried, often micro-chipped and secured in strong rooms and safes, rhino horns are stockpiled largely because of their future market value. That future value rests on an assumption that the current high demand for rhino horn, predominantly for use in Vietnamese medicine, will continue indefinitely, and cannot be overcome or countered. That assumption itself rests in part on characterising the demand for rhino horns as “traditional”.
No one disputes that medicinal and recreational use of rhino horn, mostly in Vietnam, is directly responsible for high levels of poaching in southern African countries, which continues to threaten the species with extinction. But while it is true that rhino products are mentioned in a variety of traditional Vietnamese medicine texts, the scale of the Vietnamese market has risen hugely over the past 15 years: this demand is a modern phenomenon. Influenced in part by rumours of a prominent senior government official being cured, sick and dying cancer sufferers and their families are directly targeted by unscrupulous vendors. In addition over the past decade and a half rhino horn has become, a party drug, a health supplement, and a hangover cure – a luxury product conspicuously consumed by newly wealthy elites.
2010, White Rhinos await buyers in pens at the annual auction in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi national park. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/REUTERS
It is often argued that (as with other high-demand products such as narcotics) regulation rather than prohibition is the best solution, and one that will best safeguard animal and human welfare, and habitat. This argument rests on an assumption that the Vietnamese market is far more culturally established than it in fact is. The contemporary medicinal consumption of rhino horn is presented as a traditional practice that people are culturally committed, indeed almost obliged, to perpetuate.
Rhino horn: a modern fad?
The fact that rhino horn medicine lacks scientific or medical validity leads rather too quickly to an implication that its consumption must be “traditional” (‘medieval’ is another variant). However, the world is full of beliefs and practices which are irrational, superstitious, or without scientific validity, but that does not mean that they are necessarily traditional: they can be all these things and still be modern or even post-modern, perhaps high-tech, and without historical precedent.
It is often the case that promoters of a medicine or foodstuff might have an interest in giving it a historical or traditional pedigree, but such claims need to be critically assessed rather than uncritically reproduced. Believing in the restorative or curative properties of the so-called palaeo diet, for instance, is clearly a belief held by parts of our modern society, and is a recent invention. It would be odd for us to claim that the palaeo diet is traditional, and it would be even more odd for us to claim that if it is traditional it will always exist: the palaeo diet is very obviously both modern and a fad.
Devastating as it is to the welfare and survival of rhino species, the Vietnamese market for rhino horns is both faddish and reversible. Education and marketing campaigns that try to make its consumption socially unacceptable are as achievable in Vietnam as campaigns were the UK to make once popular practices like as drink-driving socially unacceptable. This has been done for rhino horns before: in the 1970s and 1980s, the Yemeni demand for rhino horn dagger handles also had a devastating effect on rhino populations in southern African countries. A mixture of legal measures and social pressure, sometimes from the highest levels of the Yemeni state, coupled with awareness campaigns about harm done to rhinos in the wild, were fairly effective in making the practice of gifting daggers with rhino horn handles socially unacceptable. Whether rhino horn dagger handles were “traditional” or not, it was clearly possible to confront the practice.
Destined for destruction, not storage: this rhino horn, confiscated by Vietnamese authorities, was part of a consignment of more than 2 tons of ivory and horns destroyed in 2016. Photograph: Hau Dinh/AP
There are many good arguments for both ending the stockpiling of rhino horns and for destroying current stockpiles. Given that this is not happening, we should ask who it is that has an interest in ensuring the perpetuation of a Vietnamese demand for rhino horn. Vendors, traffickers and poachers, of course, have an interest in the market continuing. A 2012 report in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy made the intriguing and worrying suggestion that a speculator lawfully stockpiling large quantities of wildlife commodities might have an interest in “depressing” wild stock in order to maximise profit: banking on extinction in the wild, in other words.
Having a monopoly on supply is one way of controlling a market, but maintaining demand is also crucial. Who is currently speculating in rhino horn stockpiles, and why? Confronting and correcting the belief that modern faddish behaviour and the peoples who engage in it are amodern, traditional, or incapable of change, would be helpful in reducing demand for rhino products, but those who farm and stockpile might have reason to present rhino horn consumption in Vietnam as a more established and venerable practice than it in fact is.
The biggest problem with farming rhinos for the far-East market of their horns is actually that it maintains the trade, the myth and thereby the demand for the horns.
There is the much better woking VIAGRA and similar substances, but in addition here are the best options:
13 Alternatives to Viagra That Won't Fall Flat
By:Sayer Ji, Founder - 19. July 2014
Viagra is a multi-billion dollar blockbuster drug, but it has serious side effects. Thankfully evidence-based natural alternatives abound...
Erectile dysfunction is no trivial matter. In fact, Dr. Mercola correctly labeled it 'the canary in the trousers,' insofar as dysfunction 'where it counts' reflects body-wide endothelial dysfunction, a well known precursor to cardiovascular disease.
But putting aside its importance for overall health, the male ego depends in large part on the ability to 'get it up,' and when things don't work out as planned, quite a lot can go wrong as far as intimacy is concerned. It has been said that when sexual issues emerge in a relationship, they take on 90% importance, but when they aren't an issue, they only figure 10% in the overall success of the relationship.
Men, especially in the 35-45 range, also are faced with what is known as andropause, as the levels of key 'erotic' hormones such as testosterone and human growth human start to take a precipitous decline.
The pharmaceutical industry has capitalized heavily on this 'change of life' phase, with Viagra taking on a 'pole position' for several decades. But these pharmaceuticals have severe, if not sometimes deadly side effects. All the more reason why natural alternatives are in great need today.
Alternatives to Viagra
So, what does the 'hard evidence' itself have to say on the topic of natural alternatives. Take a moment to look at what we have found:
- #1 on the list is the amino acid l-arginine. A precursor to nitric oxide, this conditionally non-essential amino acid is especially important in times of trauma or stress. What makes is 'conditionally essential' is that while the body can normally produce adequate quantities, during times of stress (including burn trauma), the body is unable to produce sufficient quantities, at which time supplementation is of key importance. Also, when the arteries undergo what is called 'endothelial dysfunction,' and are incapable of dilating sufficiently, adding additional l-arginine can correct the condition by inducing nitric oxide up-regulation, subsequently increasing blood flow, which can lead to resolution of cardiovascular dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction. We have indexed no less than six clinical studies on l-arginine, either alone or in combination with another nutraceutical, indicating it can contribute to a reversal of erectile dysfunction. You can view the studies here.
- This amazing substance has a wide range of health benefits. In fact, we have indexed over 80 evidence-based health applications here. When it comes to erectile dysfunction, pycnogenol figures as a profound synergist, working to amplify the benefits of l-arginine to the point where two separate clinical studies found the combination highly effective and safe in resolving erectile dysfunction.
- This amazing Asian herb has been used for thousands of years to increase stamina and longevity. There is now a sizable body of scientific evidence supporting its traditional folkoric use, with a 2008 meta-analysis of the extant research on the topic, which looked at 7 randomized clinical trials to ascertain its value in erectile dysfunction, concluding: "Collectively these RCTs provide suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction."
- this South American tuber, both a food and medicine, and long identified as a means to increasing fertility and libido in both men and woman, was found in a 2009 clinical trial to have a significant effect "...on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild ED."
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia):
- Like most traditional herbs, Tongkat Ali has had a variety of traditional uses, including as an "antimalarial, aphrodisiac, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and antipyretic [fever-reducer]." As far as its libido enhancing properties, two preclinical trials have found it effective in the animal model at improving sexual performance, confirming its aphrodisiacal properites.,
- this sacred spice, highly prized as both a culinary ingredient and medicine, has been studied to have significant effects in reversing erectile dysfunction at doses of 200 mg a day. A 2009 study found: "Saffron showed a positive effect on sexual function with increased number and duration of erectile events seen in patients with ED even only after taking it for ten days."
- This potent herb has been found effective when combined with l-arginine to improve erectile dysfunction. A 2002 study concluded: "oral administration of the L-arginine glutamate 6g and 6 mg yohimbine combination is effective in improving erectile function in patients with mild to moderate ED." [Warning: Yohimbe and its active ingredient yohimbine is a potent nutraceutical with possible severe side effects such as hypertension. It is advisable to use it only under the guidance of a physician or medical herbalist to avoid possible side effects, especially if already using prescription drugs.]
- This potent herb has libido enhancing properties for both men and women. We recently featured a study showing it helps women to increase their libido. The preclinical research on male libido is promising, with no less than three studies indicating its benefits for erectile dysfunction.,,
- A highly provocative animal study from 2008 indicates that green tea may address both the origin of erectile dysfunction by diminishing atherosclerotic progression in the corpus cavernosum of the male rat penis, subsequently indicating improvement in both erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular health. This is, in fact, not the first study to show that green tea can correct endothelial dysfunction.
- One of the best ways to improve your body image, self-esteem, and sexual vitality is through exercise. A 2009 study found that physical inactivity contributes to erectile dysfunction – essentially a no-brainer.
A Sense of Humor:
- Living life with a negative attitude, especially when afflicted with a health condition, doesn't reflect well as far as sexuality is concerned. A remarkable 2008 study found that viewing humorous films in patients with atopic dermatitis leads to short-term improvement of erectile dysfunction. While we don't know for sure if this study extends to everyone with the condition, it is instructive, perhaps, to look at a degree of levity and light-heartedness as an essential precondition to alleviating some degree of sexual dysfunction. Sex should be fun, right? So lighten up by increasing you humor and joy, whenever possible.
AVOID STATIN DRUGS:
- One of the primary precepts of functional medicine is to avoid the cause of disease, rather than just suppress the symptoms. Statin drugs are well-known to adversely affect the male gonads, as well as reducing both testosterone and libido, leading to the well known consequence of statin-induced erectile dysfunction. Take a look at these 7 clinical studies if you need convincing that this side effect is read. Were statins effective at preventing heart disease, it would be difficult to reject them. But the fact that they are cardiotoxic makes it all the more questionable to continue on them, especially considering the severe quality of life issues they generate, including erectile dysfunction. Please share with your physician our research page on the 300+ adverse effects of statins to come up with a more reasonable approach to cardiovascular disease prevention.
- Perhaps surprisingly, antidepressant drugs have been found to be a major cause of sexual dysfunction. A 2006 study found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), e.g. Prozac, Paxil, are associated with sexual dysfunction in 95.6% of women and 97.9% men. What a misnomer! What could be more depressing than killing your sexual desire with a pharmaceutical Band-Aid?
Ultimately, sexual dysfunction begins in the brain. Nothing can eliminate a dysfunctional relationship or a lack of intimacy that often follows from it. While natural interventions exist – Ginseng, Arginine, Tribulus, etc. – it should be remembered that that erectile dysfunction stems from more than just physiological issues. A lack of desire may reflect a lack of appreciation for one's own self, body image, or sense of sensuality. Nonetheless, it is good to know that alternatives to pharmaceuticals like Viagra exist, and are evidence-based, safer and time-tested. Moreover, it is important to acknowledge that the 'canary in the trousers' often reflects cardiovascular dysfunction body-wide, and the best way to address that is through a radical transformation of the diet, focusing on a grain and dairy-free ancestral diet rich in high nutrient, low carbohydrate vegetables, tubers and fruits and berries, as well as high quality natural fats and protein sources that are consistent with our biological heritage.
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Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019