Title

Scientific refutation of traditional Chinese medicine claims about turtles

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Applied Herpetology

Publication Date

3-2008

Volume

5

Issue

2

First Page

173

Last Page

187

Publisher

Brill

Keywords

China, turtle trade, geoemydidae, TCM, nutrition, conservation, asian turtle crisis, asia

Abstract

The Chinese turtle trade is the primary threat to endangered turtle populations throughout Asia, primarily because of the long tradition of consuming turtles in China. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) promote nutritional and medicinal benefits from eating turtles, especially those made from hardshell species. We tested these claims by determining the nutritional value of turtle products (meat, fat and shell) in five species of geoemydid turtle, Cuora trifasciata, C. mouhotii, Mauremys mutica, M. sinensis and Geoemyda spengleri. Nutritional variables such as the composition of amino acids, fatty acids and mineral elements were analyzed to determine the relative nutritional quality of turtle products. Our study refutes TCM claims about products made from hardshell turtles. Alternative animal products should be substituted to obtain similar minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. Balancing the cultural use of turtles with their conservation status remains a major challenge.

DOI

10.1163/157075408784648835

Print ISSN

15707539

E-ISSN

15707547

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Hong, M., Shi, H., Fu, L., Gong S., Fong, J. J. & Parham, J. F. (2008). Scientific refutation of traditional Chinese medicine claims about turtles. Applied Herpetology, 5(2), 173-187. doi: 10.1163/157075408784648835