Medicinal Uses

Seahorse's have been used in Traditional Chinese's medicine for centuries. An estimated 24.5 million or about 70 tons of seahorses are sold each year just to China. Medicines including seahorses can treat anything from kidney aliments, circulatory problems, abdominal pain, toxic swelling, urinary problems, impotence, and even debility in the elderly. There are about 90 different medicines containing seahorses that are sold in China as well as other places. There are other organisms that are used in in traditional Chinese medicines. Siberian tigers are usually harvested for their bones and other parts, while black bears have their bile extracted to treat headaches or liver ailments. Musk deer and rhinoceros are also used for medicine in Traditional Chinese medicine.   

One paper that really caught my eye, was a study conducted in Japan at Okayama University Medical School. The research that was conducted was the effects of Guilingji, which is an antiaging medication comprised of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs and animal components, on the brains levels of TBARS thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in rats induced with epilepsy. In other words, the researchers were examining the brains of rats induced with a chemical to cause them to epilepsy. They would then monitor the levels TBARS, which is the oxidative degradation of lipids. This is the process in which free radicals "steal" electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. The researchers also monitored the SOD, which are a type of enzymes that catalyze the dismutation of superoxide into  oxygen  and hydrogen peroxide. SOD is an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen.  The results showed that the rats pretreated with Guilingji decreased the levels of TBARS in parts of the brain, such as the left cortex, midbrain, and the olfactory lobe. It also showed an increase in the SOD activity in the midbrain and hypothalamus. The results found are the first to show that Guilingji may have an antiepileptic effect, treatments of seizures, other than just antiaging agents.  This could mean that Guilinigji may operate through the mechanism of antioxidation.
Let’s take a look at Guilingji. It is a mixture of 19 different Chinese medicinal herbs and animal components including the Hippocampus Kelloggi. It has been used for centuries in China. It has been said that Qianlong of Qing Dynasty used it during his life time. Studies have showed that this medicine would increase the levels of absorbic acid in the adrenal cortex in our brain and protect then it would protect the gland from exhaustion induced by hydrocortisone, a hormone steroid produced to relief stress. Other studies have shown an increase in the life span of mice that have been administered Guilingji. Now studies are showing that Guilingji may scavenge free radicals that have been known to cause various diseases.

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