English: Calcitum

Chinese: 寒水石

Parts used: The powered mineral

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

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): PungentSalty

Organ affinity: Heart Kidney

Scientific name: Calcium carbonate

Other names: Calcite, Fang Jie Shi

Use of Han Shui Shi (calcitum) 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: Crush to power before using

Dosage: 9-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Expels Summer-Heat. Cools Hot sores and burns. Reduces edema.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Han Shui Shi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Fever Excessive thirst Irritability Sores Mouth ulcers Burns Edema

Common TCM formulas in which Han Shui Shi is used*

Zi Xue Dan

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 17 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Opens the sensory orifices. Controls spasms and convulsions. Extinguishes Wind.

Conditions targeted*: Acute encephalitisAcute meningitis and others

Han Shui Shi is a deputy ingredient in Zi Xue Dan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Zi Xue Dan, Han Shui Shi clears Heat and drains Fire to eliminate irritability and alleviate thirst.

Read more about Zi Xue Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Han Shui Shi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Han Shui Shi 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 Han Shui Shi is Cold in nature. This means that Han Shui Shi typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. 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 Han Shui Shi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Han Shui Shi also tastes Pungent and Salty. 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 Han Shui Shi 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. On the other hand Salty ingredients tend to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Han Shui Shi is thought to target the Heart and the Kidney. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body.