These are what were written in a Vietnamese traditional medicine website.

Rhino horns have long been considered a rare and precious drug! Consequently, rhinos are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that are critically endangered and need protection. Mostly based on folklore and myth, it is widely believed that rhino horns have the ability to enhance libido, “rejuvenation”, reduce a fever, and even to cure cancer and diabetes!

Rhinos’ scientific name is Rhinoceros. By the 14th century, the rhino was given that name based on its own characteristic which is a large horn that grows out of its nose.

According to traditional medicine practice, rhino horn tastes bitter, salty and cold in nature. It affects the heart, liver and stomach channels and can be used to clear heat and heart-burn, remove toxins, and relieve feverish rashes. Also, it treats associated symptoms such as loss of consciousness, delirium, bleeding, high fever and convulsion. However, it is not recommended for use by pregnant women.

Modern clinical trials reveal that rhino horns can strengthen heart muscle, reduce then increase white blood cell count significantly, decrease hypothermia, be used as a sedative to viscera, treat feverish cold and convulsion, cure congestion, epistaxis, jaundice, ulcers , encephalitis B, summer fever in children, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and neurological schizophrenia.
Rhino horns are used in roughly 70 traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) to treat inflammation of heat, high fevers, convulsions & delirium, hysteria, as well as to increase potency.


Some very popular drugs which known for their highly effectiveness and used by mostly any TCM practitioners are “an cung ngưu hoàng hoàn”, “tử tuyết đan”, “tê giác hoàn”, “tê giác địa hoàng giải độc”. Before the discovery of antibiotics, some cases of anaerobic infection such as “cam tẩu mã” (noma) needed rhino horns to treat thoroughly. Further, rhino horns were also used to treat other epidemic diseases like encephalitis, infectious disease, high fever and high temperature, poisoning disease, erectile dysfunction and many others.

A common way of using rhino horn is to grind it in hot water in a specially made porcelain bowl with rough bottom until the water turns into a milky solution. 

Alternatively, the horn is finely ground and taken in doses of 0.5-1 gram per day. It can also be made into tablets and taken with different drugs depending on purpose of treatment.

It is strongly noted that rhino horns must not be used by pregnant women, or “cold” people (according to TCM) who are usually afraid of the cold, have cold hands & feet, discharge liquid feces & transparent urine without having a fever.

There are plenty of folklore and myth about the miraculous effects of rhino horns in treating “incurable” diseases. Nowadays, a few cases of leukemia and Japanese encephalitis are treated in conjunction with rhino horn. Nonetheless, perhaps due to its high price and scarce, so far not a single scientific research paper about it has yet been published. Modern science has recently identified a number of substances which make up rhino horns: keratin, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, amino acids; solutions can produce alkaloid reactions.

Dr. Le Luong Dong-Department of Traditional Medicine, Ministry of Health said: “It is commonly perceived that rhino horns are very good drugs, especially in treating encephalitis. There has not been any specific survey or statistics about it yet. However, upon observation, patients who take rhino horns powder show better signs of clinical improvement, as well as a sharp drop in death and sequelae rates. Leukemia patients who use rhino horns show positive progress. According to the Pharmacopeia, rhino horns contain a number of “very good but not yet discovered” proteins, minerals & micronutrients. Generally, people use rhino horn as they have faith in traditional belief and rumors. At some level, rhino horn probably has a few certain effects, but it is absolutely not a panacea. 

Thuc Linh

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