Zheng Gu Shui

Zheng Gu Shui, literally “bone setting solution”, “royal bone water”, “rectify bones liquid”, or “rightbone lotion” in English, is a Chinese patent medicine that activates blood to resolve stasis, relaxes muscles and tendons and activates blood in channels and collaterals, and relieves pain and swelling. So, the indications of this external analgesic lotion include arthritis, bunions, ankle sprain, fractures (broken bones), back pain, bone spurs, bursitis, bruises, tendonitis, frozen shoulder, neck pain, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, and so on. Here’s only one most important thing to remember: this external analgesic liniment should not be applied onto an open wound.

What is Zheng Gu Shui?

It is a pure Chinese herbal preparation produced by Guangxi Yulin Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. In fact, it is based on the secret prescription handed down from Chen Shanwen’s ancestors. By the way, Chen Shanwen was a legendary, famous practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the early 1950s. This patent remedy is a widely used topical therapy for injuries and muscle aches and fatigue following physical exercise because it can promote the healing of bone and traumatic injuries faster, ease pain, reduce swelling, promote blood circulation to disperse blood stasis, increase metabolism, and so on.

In this formula, the herbs that activate blood circulation to dissipate blood stasis, detumescence and odynolysis include Polygonum cusidatum rhizome (Jiu Long Chuan, Bushy Knotweed), root of Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers. (Dou Chi Jiang), Lignum Dalbergiae Odoriferae (Jiang Xiang), Rhizoma Polygoni Cuspidati (Hu Zhang), Calophyllum membranaceum Gardn. et Champ (Heng Jing Xi), Menthol crystal (Bo He Nao), Fructus Gleditsiae Sinensis (Zao Jia), roots of Securidaca inappendiculata Hassk. (Wu Wei Teng), roots of Piper hancei Maxim. (Chuan Bi Feng), Camphor crystal (Zhang Nao), Ilex rotunda Thunb. (Sui Gu Mu), Eupolyphaga/Steleophaga (Tu Bie Chong), Zedoary Rhizome (E Zhu), Radix Cynanchi Paniculati (Xu Chang Qing), Sheepear Inula Her (Bai Niu Dan), Ardisia crenata (Zhu Sha Gen), Radix Aucklandiae (Mu Xiang), and Radix Zanthoxyli (Liang Mian Zhen); the herbs for relaxing tendons and activating collaterals are Gnetum montanum Markgr. (Mai Ma Teng) and Stem of Climbing Entada (Guo Jiang Long); the herbs for expelling wind-damp and dredging Channels are Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii Preparata (Zhi Cao Wu), Cortex Periplocae (Xiang Jia Pi), Caulis Piperis Kadsurae (Hai Feng Teng), Radix Crotonis crassifolii (Xiang Zhang), Radix Moghaniae Philippinensis (Qian Jin Ba), and Aralia armata (Wall.) Seem. (Ying Bu Pu).

Does Zheng Gu Shui really work?

Pharmacodynamic studies have shown that this brand of traditional Chinese medicinal liniment can promote healing of fracture in mice and rats and increase the bearing capacity of where the fracture is located; it can expand the local blood vessels in rabbits and significantly promote the absorption of local blood stasis; it also has obvious therapeutic effect on blood stasis and edema caused by external wounds in mice; it has obvious anti-inflammatory effect on carrageenan-induced inflammation of plantar foot tendons in mice; it can significantly increase the pain threshold of mice.

Because it contains small amount of menthol, camphor and alcohol, it is water-soluble and volatile. When it is applied on the affected area, the anti-inflammatory ingredients will soon penetrate into the deep tissue and work quickly there. In general, gently rubbing it 2 or 3 times on the affected area can effectively relieve symptoms of joint pain and swelling, pain and soreness in the muscles, straining muscles, and so on. It is often used in the treatment of early and mid-term acute muscle and soft tissue injury. However, it is not for chronic soft-tissue injuries, which instead should be treated by collaterals-warming ointments like Hong Hua You (Red Flower Oil) or Huo Luo You (Flexscle Liniment) because they have more durable efficacy and less irritation to the skin.

How to use Zheng Gu Shui?

1. When it comes to minor injuries, it is recommended to slightly rub a cotton ball dipped in liniment on the affected area. If it is a severe case, it is a good idea to apply a saturated cotton ball on the affected area for 1 hour, 2 or 3 times a day.

2. In terms of broken bone and dislocation, it should be applied only after the bones have been returned to their normal position. Besides, don’t cover the affected area after applying it. Or it will cause blisters due to blood circulation disorders.

3. Applying it before and after exercise or strenuous activity, or putting a little of this healing liniment in the bath water, can effectively prevent and get rid of fatigue and soreness and help manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Instructions and contraindications

1. It can quickly relieve pain. It is worth mentioning that it is more for early and mid-term treatment of injuries, fracture, dislocation and other sudden soft tissue injury. But it makes no sense to chronic soft tissue injury.

2. It is suitable for acute injury. So, experts advise against the long-term and continuous use of it. And it should not be used in large area either. Stop using it if 3-day treatment shows no improvement or local pain, swelling, itching and other symptoms occur after the treatment.

3. Do not apply it to open wounds. Because it is a strong irritant, it not only causes pain, but also makes the wounds more difficult to heal.

4. People with true alcohol allergies should not use it because it is alcohol-based. If itching occurs during the treatment, stop it right away since it may be adverse reactions. In this case, allergy testing is highly recommended.

5. It comes in a convenient spray bottle. After the patients spray the liquid to the affected area and rub, they should wash hands immediately. And do not apply it in the eyes, oral mucosa, and so on.

Zheng Gu Shui side effects

In summary, this is a good addition to everyone’s medicine cabinet. But be aware, however, that it may cause occasional itchy rash. Besides, it shouldn’t be used by pregnant women and those with blood deficiency but without blood stasis, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

7 thoughts on “Zheng Gu Shui

  1. beth may

    I met someone yesterday and he said that he uses this liniment and it was the best of all he has tried. I hope it is the same for me.


    In terms of a bunion, only surgery would fix the “dislocation”. Can you apply to bunion without fixing “dislocation”?

    Any case studies showing success fixing bunion?

    Thank you!


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