Alligator and Other Crocodilian Medicinal Facts
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Alligator and Other Crocodilian Medicinal Facts

Crocodilians which include alligators, caimans, crocodiles and the gharial are fearsome creatures. However, while some of them are kept as pets, most of these crocodilians are also farmed because of their meat and skin for delicacy and for various leather products, respectively. Interestingly, crocodiles, alligators, caiman and gharials are also harvested for cure. Read on.

Crocodilian or crocodilia refers to large reptiles that fall on three families – the alligators (alligatoridae), the crocodiles (crocodylidae) and the gharial (gavialidae). Known to be the most ferocious predators on earth since the late cretaceous period, these crocodilians also serve as victims to the human world. While the gharial is included to be one of extinct types and the caimans kept as pets, the alligators and the crocodiles are raised commercially for their meat and skin. More to this, similar to other reptile relatives as the turtles, the snakes and the lizards, these crocodilians are also collected for medicinal purposes.

  • Gharial for its aphrodisiac properties

Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) also known as Indian gharial, Naka Gohi or gavial is found in northern India, Pakistan, Nepal and in other Middle Eastern country. It is a fish-eating crocodile which has a long slender snout and considered as one of the longest of the living crocodiles. An adult male gharial can reach 23 feet in length.

While the alligator including the caiman has eight species and the crocodile has fourteen, the gharial remains the only one of its kind. In 2007, the gharial has a status of ‘critically endangered’ because of water pollution, food (fish) shortage and loss of habitat. However, since its conservation and because of the rise breeding centers, gharial types are surviving once again.

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Gharial eggs are used in traditional medicine. The dry powder of the egg is indicated as a cough medicine. On the other hand ‘ghara’ which pertains to the bulbous growth in the mature male gharial is also harvested for its aphrodisiac content.

  • The Black Caiman for epilepsy and stroke

The caiman belongs to the family alligatoridae. It resembles the alligator in appearance from its elongated snout to its long tapering tails. Caimans have six specie – the black caiman, broad- snouted caiman, Cuvier‘s dwarf caiman, the Schneider’s smooth-fronted caiman, the Spectacled caiman and Yacare caiman.

Among the six types, the black caiman (melanosuchus niger) is considered as the most magnificent and the most valuable. It is the biggest specie in the family alligatoridae reaching 16.5 feet in length slightly surpassing the American alligator. The black caiman usually found in South America, is also the most hunted because of its hide (skin) for it can produce black shiny leather. It has a conservation status of ‘conservation dependent’ to prevent its specie from becoming extinct.

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The blood of the black caiman is used to treat epilepsy and stroke. Its fresh fat can be indicated as a relief for rheumatism. More to this, in Latin America the fat of the black caiman is also used for infection, swelling, thrombosis and for asthma.

  • Saltwater crocodile for eczema and other skin problems

Crocodilian belonging to the crocodylidae has fourteen species. While these crocodiles are usually raised commercially for their meat and skin, some species is also used medicinally. The crocodile meat is cited to provide stronger lungs and helps build a strong immune system against colds and asthma. The crocodile oil is usually used for skin problems.

Regarding the crocodile oil, the Salt water crocodile is commonly the choice of manufacturers.

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is also known as the Australian saltwater crocodile, estuarine or indo-pacific crocodile. It is found in northern Australia, east of India and in some parts of Southeast Asia. The average male can reach 22 – 23 feet and weigh 1000-1200 kg while the female which is smaller can only reach up to 10 feet. The probable largest living saltwater crocodile held in captivity, weighing 2370 lbs with the length of 21 feet can be found in the Philippines.

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Crocodile oil obtained from the saltwater crocodile is regarded as wonder oil. It can be indicated for pimples, acne and eczema in the eyelids. It helps relieve burns, sunburn, cold sores, insect bites and stings. Crocodile oil can also enhance wound healing and prevent scar formation.

  • American alligator for hypertension, cancer and incontinence

There are only two species of alligators – the American and Chinese alligator. But, not only that they are farmed for their hide and meat, alligator bones and connected tissues are important as source of collagen.

In one study, typical type 1 collagen consisting of acid soluble collagen (ASC) and pepsin solubilized collagen (PSC) was isolated in the bones of the American alligator.

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), popularly referred to as gator, is endemic to southeastern United States. It is larger than the Chinese alligator. While the adult male American alligator has the average of 11.2 feet in length, Chinese alligators rarely exceed 5 feet.

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Alligator collagen is important for purposes in cosmetics as in skin creams. More to this, alligator collagen use also include treatment for hypertension, incontinence, cancer, pain associated with osteoarthritis and wound healing.


This article is only for information.

© Phoenix Montoya @ September 25, 2011



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Comments (16)

Wow, thanks for sharing this information.

Thanks for the review. But I would encourage natural remedies from plant based source.

Interesting and well written article

Excellent and highly informative, kabayan. We should be a bit wary about the crocodilian species who thrive in a political swamp like in our very own country, lol.

I am totally against using endangered species to help people, there are 7 billion of us, so few of them.

Impressive data on this very well composed piece, I love the Note.

poor crocodiles... even if they do look scary and could eat me without regret..=(

Fascinating, expert piece.

Everybody has already said it for me Phoenix, a well written and very informative article. Great photos too.

Great information! Voted up!

very interesting

They all scare me!

Awesome...great article..voted

Just returning to re-read this highly informative article

These critters are quite a sight to see in person. I actually plan on seeing an alligator soon at my daughter's home in Florida.She has one living in the lake behind her home. Thank you for this intensive education done so well by you!

Here is the Top Alligator Oil product out there.... I have been using it for years now - great for Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema, Nail Fungus, Athlete's Foot