Vietnamese scientists have discovered 46 medicinal plant species and remedies that may be able to replace endangered wildlife products used to cure diseases.

The discovery was made within the framework of a project aimed to improve the conservation of rare animals including bears, rhinos, pangolins and tigers.

The collection and testing of a large number of medicinal plants deemed to have the same medicinal effects as endangered animals, particularly native bears, was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health's National Institute of Medicinal Materials and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Experts hope the development will reduce the consumption of wildlife products for medicinal purposes and replace the demand for rare animal products.

In Vietnam, wildlife products such as rhino horn, bear bile and tiger bone are used to detoxify the body, ease fevers, improve health and prevent diseases.

Nguyen Thanh Huyen, head of the institute's Medicine Resource Department, said that there was no official scientific research that rhino horn was an effective cure for diseases, adding that t he use of rhino horn for medical purposes should be based on scientific, facts not folklore.

Vietnam is home to more than 4,000 medicinal plant species. Experts hope the study of potential ingredients beneficial to human health will reduce the risk of extinction.-VNA