Actual facts of rhino horns trading activity in Vietnam and its many consequences

In Vietnam, according to traditional medicine practice and traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) rhino horns have long been considered as such panacea along with other drugs like tiger bone glue, bear bile, dear antler velvet and salanganes’ nests.

As a consequence, many people want to purchase rhino horns since they believe in its miraculous effects to cure sick patients. As googling some key words such as “buying rhino horns”, “buying real rhino horns in Hanoi”, you will find so many articles relating as well as advertising for sales of rhino horns on website forums.

One of them is - “a Vietnamese internet forum site and the largest Vietnamese women online community”

A woman nick name “Mẹ bé Jerry” (Jerry’s Mommy) posted a thread “Searching for address to purchase genuine rhino horn, help…help..”. This topic has received 14,416 views and 76 replies. She said that:

“At the moment, my dad is having tuberculosis treatment regimen in 8 months. However, within the first 2 months, due to side effects of using high-dose antibiotics, he got rashes and itching all over the body. The doctor said it was because his liver was badly affected by the drugs. Other people suggested me grinding rhino horns then boil the milky solution for my dad to drink as it will help him to detoxify quickly. So is there anyone who has already bought or used rhino horns please gives me some advices. Is it true that rhino horn costs around $2000 per 100g? Thank you so much."

Among all the replies to her thread, 35% of them firmly insisted  they knew where to purchase rhino horns and asked her to inbox their emails or call their phone numbers since they acknowledged that this was an illegal activity. Further, 23% of people replying said they or their relatives have actually used rhino horns before. 

“Price & effect depend on whether it is Africa or Asia rhino, 1 horn or 2 horns rhino. It truly helps body to detoxify and boost the health. When I was recovering from the illness, my husband had me drink rhino horns powder. As the result, I gained a lot of weight very quickly. Now sometimes I still drink it. Generally, women take rhino horns powder for 9 days straight while men take for 7 days.” Nickname “vo xin” commented.

“It’s not that easy to purchase a genuine rhino horn. My husband has the close relationship with an official working in general department of Vietnam customs (GDVC) but he still could not help us. I am not sure about other special curing effects but when my kids had a fever, I grinded the horn and let them drink the solution. Within 1-2 hours, the fever gone. Or once, my child had roseola, I let her drink rhino horn solution again in 3 days straight, all of her spots disappeared. I heard that rhino horns are “cold” (according to TCM) then prior discretion is advised. Plus, rhino horns are extremely effective to treat fever and detoxification…” nickname “menhimxu2004” commented.

Nonetheless, only 6 people confirmed that rhino horns do have curing abilities.  On the other hand, 10 people, or 13% showed negative attitude towards trading rhino horns online and 6% others suggested better using alternative drugs.

Buying and using rhino horns do lead to various consequences to the buyers. Regardless of the fact that rhino horns’ compositions are largely made of keratin, the chief component in hair, fingernails, and animal hooves. It is so obvious that people who have common sense should understand that rhino horns are definitely not a panacea. Sadly, due to their remarkably huge profit, many people still exaggerate its curing abilities to sell rhino horns to desperate,” incurable” patients and “rich” people.

According to Prof. Nguyen Lan Dung - department of Biology, Hanoi University, a number of cases of cancer patients using Rhino horns lead to quicker death have been recorded. Plus, he also mentioned that it may be resulted in erectile dysfunction for men when they drink rhino horns grinded solution with wine. 

Dr. Nguyen Huu Truong claimed that many cases of people who use medicines originated from wild animals like rhino horns, bear bile and tiger bone glue developed allergies & intoxication which lasted notably long and be very hard to treat thoroughly.

Perhaps, it was partly since they used stolen rhino horns from the museum where they had been impregnated with preservatives. Otherwise, South Africa has recently taken the radical step of drilling a hole in rhino horns and injecting GPS, dye & parasiticides in. That would make people who consume these horns suffer from nausea, stomach ache and diarrhea. Though those would not kill them right away, it would help to spread the message.

In 2013, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa due to an increasing appetite for rhino horns from Asia, in particular Vietnam. Many guards & poachers are also being killed in the raids of protecting & hacking off the horns. Actions must be taken now to stop the nonsense rumors and blind faith in rhino horns’ as miraculous panacea across Asia, especially Vietnam.




Thuc Linh