Ye Ming Sha (Bat feces) in Chinese Medicine

English: Bat feces

Chinese: 夜明砂

Parts used: The feces

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Liver

Scientific name: PipstrellusabramusTemminc, PlecotusauritusLinnaeus, Eptesicusandersoni, HipposiderosarmigerHodgson or VespertiliosuperasThomas

Other names: Bat Guano, Bat Droppings

Use of Ye Ming Sha (bat feces) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Collect the bat feces, removes impurities and dry.

Dosage: 3-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat in the Liver and brightens the eyes. Removes Blood Stagnation, clear bruise and reduces accumulations.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ye Ming Sha may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Night blindness Spots in the vision Cataracts Childhood malnutrition

Contraindications*: Avoid during pregnancy

Common TCM formulas in which Ye Ming Sha is used*

Bu Dai Wan

Source date: Late Ming

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Expels roundworms. Reduces nutritional impairment in children . Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach.

Conditions targeted*: AscariasisParasitic infestation and others

Ye Ming Sha is an assistant ingredient in Bu Dai Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Bu Dai Wan, Ye Ming Sha improves the acuity of vision while also dispersing accumulations and reducing childhood nutritional impairment.

Read more about Bu Dai Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Ye Ming Sha's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ye Ming Sha belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Ye Ming Sha is Cool in nature. This means that Ye Ming Sha tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Ye Ming Sha can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Ye Ming Sha also tastes Pungent. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Pungent ingredients like Ye Ming Sha tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Ye Ming Sha is thought to target the Liver. In TCM the Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.