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Bovine Cartilage

What is bovine cartilage? Why do we need it?

Bovine cartilage is derived from cows, usually the cartilage that helps form a cow's trachea. Bovine cartilage is also present in a cow's ears, nose, knees, and other joints.

The cartilage is cleaned, dried and powdered before being used as a supplement. It should not be confused with shark cartilage, which may have different properties and constituents.

Bovine cartilage has been used medicinally since the 1950s, when early studies suggested that bovine tracheal cartilage could help promote wound healing. In vitro studies have shown that bovine cartilage may shrink the size of certain tumors and help enhance the functioning of the immune system. It is also believed to be beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis, and certain forms of arthritis. However, relatively few studies on bovine cartilage have been conducted, and its effectiveness in the treatment of these conditions remains in doubt.

How much bovine cartilage should I take?

When using bovine cartilage as a dietary supplement, some practitioners recommend that patients take between 3 and 4 capsules per day, in the dosage of 750 milligrams per capsule. The dosage may be increased to treat other conditions, but patients should consult with a licensed health care provider before taking large amounts of bovine cartilage.

What forms of bovine cartilage are available?

Bovine cartilage can be found at some health food stores, and may be available by mail order as a nutritional supplement. It is usually available as a powder, capsule, tablet or extract, and can be taken orally, or through intravenous or intramuscular injections.

What can happen if I take too much bovine cartilage? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Large amounts of bovine cartilage may cause nausea and vomiting, along with fatigue, dizziness and indigestion. Parenteral administration of bovine cartilage can cause inflammation and irritation at the site of injection. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with bovine cartilage. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking bovine cartilage or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.


  • Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Puyallup, Washington: Future Medicine Publishing, Inc., 1994.
  • Kriegal J. John Prudden and bovine tracheal cartilage research. Alternative & Complementary Therapies, April/May 1995.
  • Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rockland, CA: Prima Publishing, 1996.
  • Prudden JF. The treatment of human cancer with agents prepared from bovine cartilage. J Bio Response Mod 1985;4:551-584.
  • Rosen J. Immunoregulatory effects of catrix. J Biol Response Mod 1988;7:498-512.
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