English: Cuttlebones

Chinese: 海螵蛸

Parts used: The bones

TCM category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): PungentSalty

Organ affinity: Spleen Kidney

Scientific name: Sepiella maindroni de Rochebrune or Sepia esculenta Hoyle

Other names: Cuttlefish bone

Use of Hai Piao Shao (cuttlebones) 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 cuttlefish bones, clean and dry. Crush before using.

Dosage: 5-10g

Main actions according to TCM*: Restrains and stops bleeding. Holds Essences and stops seminal discharge or leukorrhea. Clears Dampness and promotes wound heeling. Inhibit gastric secretion and stops pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Hai Piao Shao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Trauma bleeding Nocturnal emission Premature ejaculation Vaginal discharge Acid reflux Belching Stomach acidity Abdominal pain Ulcer Rashes Loss of blood

Contraindications*: Contraindicated for patients with Heat due to Yin Deficiency. Excess use might cause constipation.

Common TCM formulas in which Hai Piao Shao is used*

Gu Chong Tang

Source date: 1918-1934

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Augments Qi . Strengthens the Spleen. Stabilizes the Penetrating Vessel. Stops bleeding.

Conditions targeted*: Dysfunctional uterine bleedingPostpartum bleeding and others

Hai Piao Shao is an assistant ingredient in Gu Chong Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Gu Chong Tang, Hai Piao Shao restrain Body Fluids leakage and stop bleeding.

Because of the importance of quickly stopping the bleeding, the dosage of this ingredients is rather large. However, there is an potential risk that it may cause Blood Stagnation

Read more about Gu Chong Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Hai Piao Shao's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Hai Piao Shao belongs to the 'Herbs that stabilize and bind' category. This category of herbs is used for treating abnormal discharges and displacement of Organs. This includes conditions such as diarrhea, discharges from the vagina, penis or rectum as well as prolapse of the Uterus or rectum. It is important to note that herbs in this category only treat symptoms, so one should also use herbs to treat the underlying Deficiency.

Furthermore Hai Piao Shao is Warm in nature. This means that Hai Piao Shao tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Hai Piao Shao can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Hai Piao Shao 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 Hai Piao Shao 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 Hai Piao Shao is thought to target the Spleen and the Kidney. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.