English: Dragon tooth

Chinese: 龙齿

Parts used: Fossilized teeth

TCM category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Fossilia Dentis Draconis

Other names: Fossilized teeth of prehistoric mammals

Use of Long Chi (dragon tooth) 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: After digging the fossil out, remove the soil, knock off the dental alveolus, crush before using.

Dosage: 10-20g

Main actions according to TCM*: Calms the Mind and anchors the Heart.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Long Chi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Insomnia Excessive dreams Anxiety Palpitations Excessive worry Manic behavior Manic depression

Key TCM concepts behind Long Chi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Long Chi belongs to the 'Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the Mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by weighing the Qi downwards and should generally be used for a limited time only.

Furthermore Long Chi is Cool in nature. This means that Long Chi tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. 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 Long Chi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Long Chi also tastes 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 Long Chi tends 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 Long Chi is thought to target the Heart and the Liver. 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 Liver on the other hand 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.