Serpentine As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book

Definition: The serpentine (花乳石, 花蕊石) subgroup (part of the kaolinite-serpentine group) are greenish, brownish, or spotted minerals commonly found in serpentinite rocks.

Odour & Nature: Bitter, sour, non-toxic,

Channels: The serpentine works by influencing the liver.

Indications & Formulas:

Powdered and calcined serpentine can be taken with urine of boys under ten to cope with internal haemorrhage.

A mixture of sulfur and serpentine can be pounded and calcined into powder can be used in treatment for injuries from falls, fractures, contusions and strains. Again, the powder needs to be taken with urine of boys.

Serpentine, radix sileris (防风), ligusticum wallichii (川芎), chamomile flowers, radix aconiti carmichaeli (附子), lappa and Zhi Gan Cao (Processed Licorice Root, Radix Glycyrrhizae Preparata, 炙甘草, 灸甘草) can be processed into powder for internal taking to treat macula of retina.

Powdered yellow lead and serpentine can be applied externally to heal skin fungal infections between the toes.

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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