There is some evidence for prehistoric bear worship, see Arctic, Arcturus, Great Bear, Berserker, Kalevala. Anthropologists have regarded this as a common feature in most of the fishing and hunting-tribes. The prehistoric Finns, along with most fenno-ugric peoples, considered the bear as the spirit of one's forefathers. This is why the bear was a greatly respected animal, with several euphemistic names. There has been evidence about early bear worship in China and among the Ainu culture as well.
Many cultures regard bears as possessing healing powers. The peoples of China, Japan and Korea use bears' body parts and secretions (notably their gall bladders and bile) as part of traditional Chinese medicine. This has had a major impact on populations of bears around the world. Thousands of bears are farmed for their bile in China, Vietnam and Korea. They are kept in appalling conditions and usually have bile drained from their gall bladders using catheters inserted into their abdomen or with hypodermic needles. There is no evidence to suggest that farming bears has reduced pressures on wild bear populations. Indeed the farming of bears in China has led to a huge increase in consumption of bear bile since the 1980's with many people prepared to pay very high prices for the 'superior' bile of a wild bear.