English: Scorpions

Chinese: 全蝎

Parts used: The whole dried scorpion

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

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Liver

Scientific name: Buthus martensii Karsch or Scorpiones

Other names: Buthus

Use of Quan Xie (scorpions) 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: Remove impurities, clean and dry.

Dosage: 3-6g

Main actions according to TCM*: Extinguishes Interior Wind and stops tremors and convulsions. Clears Toxic-Heat and relieves nodules and rashes. Removes Stagnation and relieve pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Quan Xie may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Spams Convulsions in children Acute convulsion Chronic convulsion Tetany Opisthotono Tics Muscular tetany Seizures Headache Sores Swellings

Contraindications*: Use with caution as this herb is toxic. Contraindicated during pregnancy and these patients with Interior Wind due to Blood Deficiency. Also contraindicated with children with Spleen Wind.

Common TCM formulas in which Quan Xie is used*

Hui Chun Dan

Source date: Late 18th century

Number of ingredients: 19 herbs

Formula key actions: Opens the sensory orifices. Arrests spasms and convulsions. Clears Heat and transforms Phlegm.

Conditions targeted*: Acute encephalitisAcute meningitis and others

Quan Xie is a deputy ingredient in Hui Chun Dan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Hui Chun Dan, Quan Xie extinguishes Wind and controlling spasms and convulsions.

Read more about Hui Chun Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Quan Xie's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Quan Xie 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 Quan Xie is Neutral in nature. This means that Quan Xie typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Quan Xie means that you don't have to worry about that!

Quan Xie also tastes Pungent. 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 Quan Xie 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.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Quan Xie is thought to target the Liver. In TCM the Liver 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.