Abstract: In Asia, ingestion of animal bile is believed to improve health, but poisoning cases often occur. The composition of the bile varies with animal species, and is important in the diagnosis of hepatobiliary diseases. Bile acids are major components in terrestrial animal bile, but bile alcohols are major components in several freshwater fish. Both bile acids and alcohols cause liver and renal dysfunctions, and bile alcohols are more toxic than bile acids. Except for the bear bile component ursodeoxycholic acid, the medicinal use of animal bile components needs further study because of their toxicity.