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Deer bones

Chinese: 鹿骨

Pinyin: Lù Gǔ

Parts used: Dried bones

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Kidney

Scientific name: Cervus nippon or Cervus elaphus

Use of deer bones (Lu Gu) 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: Wraps the bones with wet paper and heat with fire until it become yellow color. Grinds it into power to use. They can also be marinated in alcohol as deer bone liquor.

Dosage: 10 to 15 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang and strengthens the sinews and bones.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which deer bones may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Joint pain Joint stiffness Weakness of bones Diarrhea Weakness Anemia Impotence Rheumatoid arthritis Scrofula Sores Infertility Cold intolerance Frequent urination Vertigo Tinnitus Fatigue Leukorrhalgia Abnormal uterine bleeding

Key TCM concepts behind deer bones (Lu Gu)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), deer bones are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore deer bones are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that deer bones tend 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 deer bones can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Deer bones also taste Sweet. 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. Sweet ingredients like deer bones tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such deer bones are thought to target the Kidney. According to TCM, 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.