Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi) in Chinese Medicine


Chinese: 代赭石

Pinyin: Dài Zhě Shí

Parts used: The mineral

TCM category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachHeartLiverPericardium

Scientific name: Iron oxide

Other names: Haematite, Red ochre

Use of hematite (Dai Zhe Shi) 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: Take the original mineral, remove impurities, smash into pieces or crush into powder. Cook for 2 hours before adding other herbs to any formula that contains hematite.

Dosage: 9 - 30 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Calms the Liver, anchors uprising Yang and clears Liver Fire. Moves Qi downward. Cools the Blood, stops bleeding.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which hematite may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Irritability Dizziness Vertigo Tinnitus Blurred vision Asthma Vomiting Nosebleed Abnormal uterine bleeding

Contraindications*: Do not use during pregnancy. Because it most likely contains traces of arsenic, it should only be used for short periods.

Key TCM concepts behind hematite (Dai Zhe Shi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), hematite are plants that belong 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 hematite are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that hematite typically help 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 hematite can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Hematite also taste Bitter. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like hematite tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing heat, drying dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such hematite are thought to target the Stomach, the Heart, the Liver and the Pericardium. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. In addition to regulating blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. The Pericardium is also called the "heart protector". It is the first line of defence for the Heart against external pathogenic influences