English: Calomelas

Chinese: 轻粉

Parts used: The mineral

TCM category: Herbs for external application

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Bladder Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Mercury chloride

Other names: Calomel, Hydrargyrum, Shui Yin Fen

Use of Qing Fen (calomelas) 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: Mix chalcanthite, salt, water, red earth and cinnabar and heat them. When snow like crystal are formed, remove impurities and store in shade.

Dosage: 0.1-0.2g

Main actions according to TCM*: Relieves toxicity, kills parasites, used as an external wash for scabies and syphilitic sores. Inhibits bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery with blood in the stools, abnormal uterine bleeding and leukorrhea. The powder can be applied topically for any type of bleeding. Anti-inflammatory and expectorant for difficult-to-expectorate Phlegm and Wind-Phlegm conditions such as mania, coma and convulsions.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Qing Fen may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Bleeding Diarrhea Dysentery Blood in stools Abnormal uterine bleeding Leukorrhea Mania Coma Convulsions

Contraindications*: The herb is toxic and not suitable for patients with weak digestion.

Common TCM formulas in which Qing Fen is used*

Zhou Che Wan

Source date: 992 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Promotes Qi movement. Harshly drives out Water and Heat Stagnation.

Conditions targeted*: Ascites from cirrhosisSchistosomiasis and others

Qing Fen is an assistant ingredient in Zhou Che Wan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Zhou Che Wan, Qing Fen unblocks the bowels, expels water, and reinforces the actions of the key and deputy ingredients.

Read more about Zhou Che Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Qing Fen's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qing Fen belongs to the 'Herbs for external application' category. Like the name indicates, this category of herbs is used mostly for external application in the form of powders, pastes or ointments. As such they are used to treat trauma, inflammation, swelling, bruises, bleeding, pain and so forth.

Furthermore Qing Fen is Cold in nature. This means that Qing Fen 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 Qing Fen can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Qing Fen 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 Qing Fen 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 Qing Fen is thought to target the Bladder, the Kidney and the Liver. In TCM the impure water collected by the Kidneys that cannot be used by the body is sent to the Bladder for storage and excretion as urine. 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. 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.