Lapis stone (Meng Shi) is not a commonly used Chinese herb, but it is an amazing expectorant that is good at breaking up phlegm that builds up in lungs and throat. Besides, it is also used for the treatment of cough, epilepsy, chest tightness, etc. This mineral herb was first mentioned in the Jia You Ben Cao (Materia medica of Jia You Reign), which was compiled during A.D. 1057 to 1060. Clinically most lapis medicinal uses are associated with getting rid of mucus or phlegm. So, now it seems a good opportunity here to make clear what phlegm is from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, phlegm refers to the abnormal accumulation of body fluid, which is the result of dysfunction spleen and the pathogenic factor that once again disrupts the balance in human body. That’s to say, phlegm and retained fluid are characterized as pathological products and virulence factors at the same time. As you can see now, phlegm-resolving does matter.
What is lapis stone?
Medicinally it means two types of stones – chlorite schist and biotite schist. Hence, other names of this herb include Lapis Chloriti seu Micae Aur., Vermiculite schist mineral, Lapis micae seu chloriti, Mica-schist, Lapis Micae Aureus, and so on. The former one is also called Qing Meng Shi and mainly produced in Hunan, Hubei, and Sichuan; the latter is also called Jin Meng Shi and mainly produced in Henan and Hebei. They can be collected throughout the year and then calcined before the use.
Lapis chloriti is the chlorite schist rocks, which are in the shapes of irregular flat oblique or oblique block and in different sizes. It is steel gray or gray-green and with slight pearl-like luster. It is heavy, soft, and friable. Cross section is lamellar and with sparkling points. And it is odorless and tasteless. It mainly contains magnesium, aluminum, iron, silicic acid and water of crystallization. This is a hydrous silicate mineral that resembles mica. It is green because it contains a significant amount of iron.
Lapis micae aureus is the mica schist rocks, which are in the shape of irregular lumps or granular. It is brownish yellow and with a bright golden yellow sheen. It is brittle, fragile, slightly odorous, and tasteless. It mainly contains mica (biotite and muscovite) and quartz. In addition, it still contains potassium, magnesium, aluminum, silicic acid, water of crystallization, and vanadium.
Lapis stone benefits
The amazing lapis stone healing properties have been found for more than a thousand of years. And let the facts speak for themselves.
(1). 180 cases of epilepsy were ever treated with the honeyed bolus made of Zao Ci (spina gleditsiae), She Chuang Zi (Cnidium Seeds), Jiang Can (Bombyx Mori), Wu Gong (Centipede), Dan Nan Xing (Arisaema Cum Bile), Zhu Sha (Cinnabar), and lapis. It turned out that total effective rate was 82.04% in 30 cases that consumed the pills only. And the total effective rate was 83.33% in the rest 150 cases that took the pills while continuing their original medication.
(2). 139 cases of epilepsy patients took the a baked pancake consisting of lapis, Jiang Ban Xia (Ginger-processed Pinellia Tuber), Tian Nan Xing (Arisaema), Fu Hai Shi (Pumice Stone), Chen Xiang (Agarwood), Qian Niu Zi (Morning Glory Seed), Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata), and flour. The result was quite positive and 93 cases were cured, 34 cases were improved, and 12 cases remained unchanged.
(3). 48 cases of obstruction in advanced esophageal and gastric cardia cancer were ever treated with lapis and Shu Fu (pillworm). Among them, 37 cases were relieved significantly, 6 cases were partly relieved, and 5 cases were ineffective.
Modern pharmacological actions of lapis stones
Its layer of octahedral-coordination cations is sandwiched between two same tetrahedra individual layers. There is static potential difference in such a structure, which can promote cation exchange and result in adsorption. As a result, that is the mechanism why it can break up phlegm and alleviate water retention.
Selected lapis herbal remedies
Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is sweet and salty in flavor and neutral in nature. And it goes to meridians of lung, heart, and liver. Main lapis stone effects are dropping phlegm, descending qi, calming the liver to relieving convulsion. Essential indications include sticky obstinate phlegm, choking cough, dyspnea, epilepsy, deliria, irritability, chest tightness, and convulsions. Recommended dosage is from 3 to 6 grams in pills or powder.
1. Gun Tan Wan from Yang Sheng Zhu Lun (Monograph of Life-cultivation). It is combined with Da Huang (Rheum Palmatum), Agarwood, Huang Qin (Scutellaria Baicalensis), etc. to treat all the diseases caused by phlegm.
2. Meng Shi Hua Tan Wan from Hui Zhi Tang Jing Yan Fang (Experiential Prescriptions from Hui Zhi Clinic). It is formulated with Rhubarb, Agarwood, Ban Xia (Pinellia), Chen Pi (Citrus peel), and Scutellaria to treat all phlegm-retention syndrome.
3. Meng Shi Wan from Tai Ping Sheng Hui Fang (Taiping Holy Prescriptions for Universal Relief). It is matched with Mu Xiang (Costus), Nao Sha (sal ammoniac), Cinnabar, Fen Shuang (Refined Calomel), and Ba Dou (Croton Seed) to treat abdominal mass in women due to indigestion and stabbing pain.
4. Duo Ming San from Ying Hai Bao Shu (Treasured Book for Baby). It a lapis-based honeyed pill to cure acute and chronic infantile convulsion and phlegm obstructed in throat.
Lapis stone side effects and contraindications
As one of healing stones mainly for breaking phlegm, lapis stone is characterized as heavy and intense in nature. Therefore, it should be used for only the excess syndrome due to the coagulation of phlegm. In addition, it shouldn’t be used during pregnancy and in cases of chronic infantile convulsion and deficiency of spleen and stomach.
(1). Zhong Guo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi (Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine), 1987; 7 (2): 107;
(2). Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1965; (6): 21;
(3). Zhe Jiang Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Zhejiang Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1990; 25 (6): 270.