The Philippines has warned against using gecko lizards to treat AIDS and impotence, saying the folkloric practice in parts of Asia may put patients at risk.
Environmental officials have also expressed alarm about the growing trade in the wall-climbing lizards in the Philippines. A 300g gecko reportedly sells for at least $AUD1085 (50,000 pesos).
Geckos are reportedly exported to Malaysia, China and South Korea, where they are used as aphrodisiacs and as traditional medicine for asthma, AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and impotence.
A health department statement said on Friday that the use of geckos as treatments has no scientific basis and could be dangerous because patients might not seek proper treatment for their diseases.
"This is likely to aggravate their overall health and put them at greater risk," it added.