Seahorses - a source of traditional medicine

Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(24):2330-4. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2012.662650. Epub 2012 Feb 24.


Wild marine organisms have been used in the discovery and development of traditional and allopathic medical treatments for a long time. Seahorses, a syngnathidae fish, are one of the important candidate organisms which have been used in Chinese traditional medicine from time immemorial. It is believed that seahorses have the potential to cure infertility, baldness, asthma and arthritis. An authentic research work on the biomedical validation of seahorses proved that they have the ability to cure arthritis and its associated inflammation. A Cathepsin-derived peptide from the seahorse species of Hippocampus kuda proved to be effective in chondrocyte cells and its associated impaired arthritis inflammation. Apart from this, seahorses have a putative free radical scavenging effect in controlling the ageing process. More authentic research is needed in order to validate the biomedical potential. This article highlights the role of seahorses' value in traditional medicine and their biomedical properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / drug therapy*
  • Cathepsins / isolation & purification
  • Cathepsins / pharmacology*
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Smegmamorpha / metabolism*


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Cathepsins