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Viper snakes

Chinese: 蝮蛇

Pinyin: Fù shé

Parts used: whole body

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Liver

Scientific name: Gloydius halys

Other names: Agkistrodon halys

Use of viper snakes (Fu she) 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 organs and dry

Dosage: 0.5 to 1.5 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Expels Wind and removes obstruction of Channels and Meridians. Relieves pains and removes toxin.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which viper snakes may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Rheumatism Rheumatoid arthritis Leprosy Scrofula Boils Scabies Hemorrhoids Tumors

Contraindications*: Not for these with Yin and Blood Deficiency. Not used during pregnancy.

Key TCM concepts behind viper snakes (Fu she)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), viper snakes are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness' category. These herbs typically help treat what's called 'bi pain' (i.e. painful obstruction) in TCM. This roughly corresponds to arthritic and rheumatic conditions with pain, stiffness and numbness of the bones, joints and muscles.

Furthermore viper snakes are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that viper snakes tend to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess(because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition viper snakes can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Viper snakes also taste 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 viper snakes 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 viper snakes are thought to target the Spleen and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.

Use of viper snakes (Fu she) as food

Viper snakes are also eaten as food.