Medicinal uses of meat by-products

In many countries like India, Japan and China, animal organs and glands have been widely used for different medicinal purposes. The endocrine glands secrete the hormones which regulates the body metabolism. These glands include lungs, liver, thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, corpus luteum, adrenal, kidney, follicle and ovary. Glands are preserved to stop the microbial tissue breakdown by freezing. Before freezing glands are cleansed, fat and connective tissues are removed. Then glands are packed in waxed paper and stored at −18 °C. In pharmaceutical industry glands are examined, sliced and mixed with solutions for hormone extraction. If glands have high fat content then ethylene, acetone, gasoline or light petroleum solution is used for fat removal. After drying and fat removal, glands are ground into a powder and used for capsule preparation. Before selling they are verified for safety and potency (Jayathilakan et al., 2012).



 Brain and spinal cord are rich sources of cholesterol that is used to synthesize vitamin D3. Pineal glands are source of melatonin hormone; it is being assessed to cure insomnia, mental retardation and schizophrenia (Devatkal, Mendiratta, Kondaiah, Sharma, et al., 2004; Jayathilakan et al., 2012).


Liver is the largest gland in the body. Cattle liver weighs about 5 kg whereas pig liver weighs 1.4 kg. Liver extract is prepared by mixing the chopped liver in slightly acidic water. After mixing, the material is concentrated by vacuum drying at low temperature to make a thick paste. This paste is used in pharmaceutical industry as raw material. Liver extract is a rich source of vitamin B 12 and is used for the treatment of pernicious anemia and as a nutritional supplement (Colmenero & Cassens, 1987; Devatkal, Mendiratta & Kondaiah, 2004; Devatkal, Mendiratta, Kondaiah, Sharma, et al., 2004). Heparine is isolated from the lungs, liver and lining of small intestine. It is an anticoagulant agent and is used to delay the blood clotting. It is also used to make the blood thin and prohibit the coagulation of the blood during organ transplant surgery.



Bile juice is obtained from the gall bladder; it contains acids, cholesterol, proteins and pigments. Bile juice is used to cure constipation, indigestion and bile tract problems. It can also be used to enhance the function of liver. Bile obtained from the pig and lamb’s gall bladder is available in dry and liquid form. Cortisone and prednisone are ingredients of bile juice and can be used as medicine after isolation. Gall stones have aphrodisiac properties; they can be sold at high price.



Insulin is obtained from pancreas and regulates the sugar metabolism in body cells. This hormone is used for diabetes treatment. Glucagon is another hormone extracted from the pancreas; it increases the blood sugar level and is used for treatment of low blood sugar level and insulin overdose. Trypsin and chymotrypsin are used to improve the healing of wounds. The intestine of calves and sheep is used for manufacturing of threads which are used for the internal surgical sutures (Jayathilakan et al., 2012).






Colmenero, F.J., & Cassens, R.G. (1987). Influence of an extract of liver on color and shelf stability of sliced bologna. Meat Science, 21, 219–230.



Devatkal, S., Mendiratta, S.K., & Kondaiah, N. (2004). Quality characteristics of loaves from buffalo meat, liver and vegetables. Meat Science, 67, 377–383.



Devatkal, S., Mendiratta, S.K., Kondaiah, N., Sharma, M.C., & Anjaneyulu, A.S.R. (2004). Physicochemical, functional and microbiological quality of buffalo liver. Meat Science, 68, 79–86.



Jayathilakan, K., Khudsia, S., Radhakrishna, K., & Bawa, A.S. (2012). Utilization of byproducts and waste materials from meat, poultry and fish processing industries: A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 49, 278–293.



The authors of this article are

  1. Syed Mudabbar Hussain Shah from Department of Food Engineering. a
  2. Syed Shabbar Hussain Shah from Department of
  3. Soil Science. a
  4. Mirtab Ali from Department of Food Science & Technology. a


*a = University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.














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