Yu Yu Liang (Limonitum) in Chinese Medicine

English: Limonitum

Chinese: 禹余粮

Parts used: The mineral

TCM category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): PungentSweet

Organ affinity: Stomach Large intestine

Scientific name: Ferric oxide

Other names: Clay Ironstone

Use of Yu Yu Liang (limonitum) 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 mineral, remove imperatives. Steam and crush to power before use.

Dosage: 9-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Astringes the intestines and stop diarrhea. Stop bleeding.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Yu Yu Liang may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Diarrhea Chronic dysentery Blood in stools Leukorrhagia Vaginal discharge

Contraindications*: Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Common TCM formulas in which Yu Yu Liang is used*

Zhen Ling Dan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Stabilizes uterine bleeding . Clears Blood Stagnation .

Conditions targeted*: Dysfunctional uterine bleedingPelvic inflammatory disease and others

Yu Yu Liang is a king ingredient in Zhen Ling Dan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Zhen Ling Dan, Yu Yu Liang astringent and excels at stopping bleeding and discharge. 

Read more about Zhen Ling Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Yu Yu Liang's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yu Yu Liang 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 Yu Yu Liang is Cool in nature. This means that Yu Yu Liang 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 Yu Yu Liang can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Yu Yu Liang also tastes Pungent and 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. Pungent ingredients like Yu Yu Liang 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 Sweet ingredients 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 Yu Yu Liang is thought to target the Stomach and the Large intestine. 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. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces.