Hematite (Dai Zhe Shi)

red ochreisThanks to its powerful grounding energy, hematite stone is often used for feng shui purpose. In addition, as one of popular crystals it is made into a variety of healing jewelry, such as magnetic hematite bracelets, beads, rings, pendants, cross, balls, and more. People believe that wearing hematite magnetic jewelry can protect, energize, and tranquilize the owners by some kind of mysterious energy. Actually hematite healing power isn’t intangible as you thought. It has been confirmed by more than 2,000 years of medical practice in TCM. In China, it is better known as Dai Zhe Shi, which was initially mentioned in Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica Classic).

What is hematite?

Sometimes spelled as haematite, it means the mineral form of iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3), which features a rhombohedral system. As one of iron oxides, it is actually a mineral instead of a crystal, which is very different from people’s popular knowledge. And it has a few different varieties, such as iron rose, kidney ore, specularite, and martite. In China the medicinal hematite is mainly produced in Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Shandong and other places. After mining, it needs to remove the miscellaneous stone and dirt before the use. And it is usually used in the unprocessed, broken form or used in the powder form after quenched with vinegar.

Hematite, or red ochre, is in trigonal crystal system. The crystal usually appears in the shape of thin sheet or plate. It is generally in the aggregates of dense block, kidney, grape, roe, earth, and more. The crystalline forms are iron black or steel gray and the earthy or powdery ones are bright red. The streaks are all cherry red. In addition, crystalline forms have metallic luster while the earthy ones have earthy luster. Hardness is from 5.5 to 6, but the earthy or powdery ones have a smaller hardness, from 5 to 5.3. It becomes magnetic after burned in reduction flame. Hematite is one of iron minerals that are widely distributed globally. It can be formed in a variety of geological processes, but mainly based on the role of hydrothermal deposition effects or regional metamorphism. And the medicinal haematite aggregates, in the shapes of ooid, bean, or kidney, are the products of sedimentation.

Hematite mainly contains iron oxide (Fe2O3), among which iron accounts for 70% and oxygen 30%. In addition, it contains also silicon, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, lead, arsenic and other impurities.

Hematite health benefits

Hematite is more than just a gemstone and ornament. As a matter of fact, the hematite magnetic therapy is popular these days. What’s more, it has long been used in herbal formulas to cure various illnesses. And modern pharmacology has provided the evidences for its efficacy.

Modern pharmacology

1. The injection of hematite has little effect on the blood pressure of anesthetized rabbits. It stimulates the bowel and makes bowel hyperactivity. And it also has significant excitatory effect on guinea pig’s small intestine.

2. When in large dose, hematite has inhibition on isolated frog heart.

3. The irony contained promotes the rebirth of the red blood cells and hemoglobin.

4. It calms the central nervous system.

Popular hematite related Chinese herbal formulas

Based on the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is bitter sweet, cold, neutral, and non-toxic in properties. It covers three meridians, including liver, stomach and heart. Its basic functions are to calm the liver and suppress Yang, calm the adverse-rising energy by heavy material therapy, and cooling blood and hemostasis. Main hematite uses and indications include headache, dizziness, palpitations, mania, epilepsy, vomiting, hiccups, dysphagia, cough, asthma, vomiting blood, epistaxis, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis, blood in the stool, and hematuria. Usual decoction dosage is from 10 to 30 grams and 1 to 3 grams in pills or powder.

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Shi Tang

Xuan Fu Dai Zhe Shi Tang comes from Shang Han Lun (On Cold Damage). This is a formula mainly for epigastric oppression and continuous burp. Other major herbal ingredients include Xuan Fu Hua (Inula Flower), Ren Shen (Ginseng Root), Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger Rhizome), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Ban Xia (Pinellia), and Da Zao (Jujube).

Hua Shi Dai Zhe Tang

Hua Shi Dai Zhe Tang comes from Jin Gui Yao Lue (Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Coffer). It is mainly formulated for erroneous purgation in lily disease, manifesting impairment of Yin, less urinating, and vomiting due to reversed flow of Qi. Other two herbs are Bai He (Lily Bulb) and Hua Shi (Talcum Powder).

Jian Ling Tang

Jian Ling Tang is from Yi Xue Zhong Zhong Can Xi Lu (Records of Heart-Felt Experiences in Medicine with Reference to the West). This prescription is basically used for vertigo, eyeball distention, tinnitus and other symptoms induced by hyperactivity of liver-Yang. Other key herbs include Huai Niu Xi (Achyranthes Root), Long Gu (Fossilized Bones), Mu Li (Oyster Shell), Bai Shao (White Peony Root), and so on.

Zhen Ling Dan

Zhen Ling Dan is from Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Formulas of the Peaceful Benevolent Dispensary). It treats metrorrhagia and metrostaxis due to blood heat. Other key herbs include Yu Yu Liang (Limonitum), Chi Shi Zhi (Kaolin), and Wu Ling Zhi (Flying Squirrel Feces).

Potential hematite side effects and contraindications

Hematite was considered non-toxic and the ideal alternative to barium sulfate as the X-ray contrast agents for gastrointestinal imaging. However, tests found out that the amount of arsenic contained is about 1/100 000 or more, which greatly exceeds that of barium sulfate. The animal experiment showed that 100% mice died after given 2 grams daily for 7 straight days. Before dying, the mice had slow movements, muscle weakness, intermittent spasm, ataxia or paralysis, slow respiration and finally death. The autopsy saw pulmonary congestion, colon mucosal hyperemia, and partial necrosis of the liver surface. From the perspective of TCM, Dai Zhe Shi should be used with caution during pregnancy. And long-term use is inadvisable because it contains a trace amount of arsenic. By the way, it contradicts Tian Xiong (Radix Aconiti Fischeri) and Fu Zi (Prepared Aconite Root).

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