English: Saiga antelope's horns

Chinese: 羚羊角

Parts used: The horn

TCM category: Herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop Tremors

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Salty

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Saiga Tatarica Cornu

Use of Ling Yang Jiao (saiga antelope's horns) 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: The horn is typically grinded into a powder

Dosage: 0.9 -3 grams when taken in powders or pills; 1.5 to 3 grams when taken in decoctions.

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Internal Liver Wind, subdues Yang. Clears Liver Fire and brightens the eyes. Eliminates toxins and reduces fever.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ling Yang Jiao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Spams Fever Convulsions Delirium Loss of consciousness Dizziness Blurred vision Headache Swollen eyes

Contraindications*: May lead to allergic reactions

Common TCM formulas in which Ling Yang Jiao is used*

Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Source date: Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.

Conditions targeted*: EncephalitisMeningitis and others

Ling Yang Jiao is a king ingredient in Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, Ling Yang Jiao enters the Liver and Heart channels where it pacifies the Liver, extinguishes Wind, and clears Heat.

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Zi Xue Dan

Source date: 752 AD

Number of ingredients: 17 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Opens the sensory orifices. Controls spasms and convulsions. Extinguishes Wind.

Conditions targeted*: Acute encephalitisAcute meningitis and others

Ling Yang Jiao is a king ingredient in Zi Xue Dan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Zi Xue Dan, Ling Yang Jiao is particularly useful for draining Liver Fire and is an important substance for extinguishing Liver Wind

The combination of Saiga antelope's horns and Water buffalo horn treats the Heat in the Heart and Liver Channels and effectively resolve the spasms, convulsions, and impaired consciousness. 

Read more about Zi Xue Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Ling Yang Jiao's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ling Yang Jiao belongs to the 'Herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop Tremors' category. These herbs are used to treat so-called 'hyperactive Liver Yang'. Concretely this translates into high blood pressure as well as seizures, spasms, convulsions, dizziness and vertigo. These herbs often seem to have a powerful antispasmodic effect on the nervous system.

Furthermore Ling Yang Jiao is Cold in nature. This means that Ling Yang Jiao typically helps 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 Ling Yang Jiao can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Ling Yang Jiao also tastes 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. Salty ingredients like Ling Yang Jiao tends 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 Ling Yang Jiao 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.