English: Costazia skeletons

Chinese: 浮海石

Parts used: The skeleton

TCM category: Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Salty

Organ affinity: Lung

Scientific name: Costazia

Other names: Costazia bone

Use of Fu Hai Shi (costazia skeletons) 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 from the seashore, clean, remove impurities and dry.

Dosage: 6-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat an expels Phlegm from the Lungs. Softens lumps and hardenings associated with Phlegm-Fire and the lymph. Increases urine output and clears Heat in the urinary tract.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Fu Hai Shi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hemoptysis Copious sputum Scrofula Goiter Dysuria Cough and wheezing with yellow sputum Bloody sputum Painful urination Urinary tract infection Burning urnation

Contraindications*: Contraindicated for patients with Rebellious Qi or Spleen and Stomach Deficiency.

Common TCM formulas in which Fu Hai Shi is used*

Ke Xie Fang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Fire. Transforms Phlegm. Preserves the Lungs. Stops coughing and bleeding.

Conditions targeted*: Pulmonary tuberculosisBronchiectasis and others

Fu Hai Shi is a deputy ingredient in Ke Xie Fang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Ke Xie Fang, Fu Hai Shi is sweet and cold. It cools and transforms the hot Phlegm and reduce the Fire.

Compare with the other deputy Snake gourd seeds, it focus more on softening what is hard. 

Read more about Ke Xie Fang

Key TCM concepts behind Fu Hai Shi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Fu Hai Shi belongs to the 'Cool herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. The herbs in this category are Cold in nature so they treat the later stages of the Stagnation: Hot and Dry-Phlegm with symptoms such as cough, goiter or scrofula.

As suggested by its category Fu Hai Shi is Cold in nature. This means that Fu Hai 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 Fu Hai Shi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Fu Hai Shi also tastes 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. Salty ingredients like Fu Hai Shi tends 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 Fu Hai Shi is thought to target the Lung. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.