What is Long Gu?
), is a medicinal herb that consists of the fossilized bones of ancient mammals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, and three-toed horses. It comes in the shape of bones or irregular blocks, and its surface can be white, grayish-white, yellowish-white, or light brown, usually smooth, with some having longitudinal cracks or brown stripes and spots. It is hard in texture, and when crushed, it is uneven at the fracture surface, with some even being hollow in the middle.
Types of Long Gu
There are two types of Long Gu, Wu Hua Long Gu and Long Gu.
(1)Wu Hua Long Gu
Also known as Qing Hua Long Gu or Hua Long Gu, it is irregular in shape and size. The surface is off-white, with bluish-gray and reddish-brown patterns varying in thickness and similar to marble stripes. The texture is hard and brittle, easy to crumble and has strong moisture absorption property. It is odorless and tasteless. The best quality is the one that is light in weight, brittle, has layers and patterns, and has strong moisture-absorbing ability.
Also known as Bai Long Gu, it is similar in shape to animal bones but thicker and larger in size. The surface is grayish-white or yellowish-white and usually smooth, with some having textures and cracks or brown stripes and spots. It is hard in quality, and the fracture surface is uneven, white, and fine like powder. There are small honeycomb-shaped pores in the joint area. It also has strong moisture-absorbing ability and is odorless and tasteless. The best quality is the one that is hard in texture, white in color, and has strong moisture-absorbing ability.
Growth environment of Long Gu
Long Gu is mainly produced in Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Qinghai, and other places.
In a warm environment, Long Gu is mainly excavated from the third stratum sediments (muddy sandstone) and fourth sediments. It becomes a fossil or layer through crustal movement and mixing with sand and mud.
Harvest and processing of Long Gu
After Long Gu’s being dug out, the mud and impurities attached to it are to be removed. Wu Hua Long Gu is brittle and easily breaks when exposed to air after excavation, so it usually requires some protection by being wrapped up with rough paper.
Take the raw Longgu and remove its attached impurities, brush away the mud and dust, then crush it. It is mainly used for calming the mind and nourishing the Yang.
(2)Calcined Long Gu
Take the clensed Long Gu and place it in an appropriate container or on a smokeless furnace, calcine it with high-heat smokelessly until it turns red, and then take it out and let it cool. Crush or grind it into fine powder.
After calcination, the functions of Longgu’s nourishing Yin, astringing essence, and promoting tissue growth will be enhanced.
Long Gu TCM
The fossilized bones of ancient mammals like elephants, rhinoceroses, three-toed horses, deer, cattle, etc..
Sweet and astringent in taste, bland in nature.
Enter the Heart, Liver, Kidney, and Large Intestine meridians.
Long Gu has the effects of calming the mind, stabilizing the Liver and suppressing Yang, astringing sweat and consolidating essence, stopping bleeding and astringing the intestines, promoting tissue regeneration and healing wounds.
Long Gu is mainly used for ttreating restlessness of the mind, anxiety, palpitations and insomnia, epilepsy, mania, dizziness caused by excessive Liver Yang, absent-mindedness, excessive dreaming, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, nocturnal emissions, cloudy urine, vomiting blood, bloody stools, excessive menstruation or leukorrhea, diarrhea, anal prolapse, eczema, itching rashes, and non-healing ulcers.
Decoction, 15-25g, or take in pills or powder form.
Crushed into powder and sprinkle or apply topically to the affected area.
(1) Not suitable for people with damp-heat or full-heat patterns.
(2) Long Gu should not be taken with isoniazid or tetracycline as it can form a complex that reduces its efficacy and causes digestive discomfort. It should also not be taken with hot pepper or consumed with carp.
(1) Annotations on The Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders, Long Gu, Mu Li (oyster), and Qian Dan (Pb₃O₄) can calm the mind and suppress convulsions.
(2) Compendium of Materia Medica, Long Gu can nourish the Kidneys, calm the mind, stop Yin-type malaria, astringe dampness, treat anal prolapse, and promote tissue regeneration. Its astringency can help stop leakage and restrain the large intestine, thus suppressing convulsions.
(3) Elucidations of The Materia Medica, Long Gu has an astringent taste and is mostly used to treat blood heat obstructing the intestines, dysentery, and excessive vaginal bleeding during menstruation. However, it should not be used in excess or where there is any deficiency pattern, especially in those who are weak and depleted.
(4) A Narrative of The Materia Medica, Long Gu can treat diseases caused by disharmony between Yin and Yang. If Yin fails to hold back Yang, it causes palpitations, mania, delirium, and spontaneous sweating. If Yang cannot support Yin, it results in chronic diarrhea, urinary frequency, bleeding gums, bloody urine, vaginal bleeding, or anal prolapse. Long Gu can also treat conditions where both Yin and Yang are deficient, like nocturnal emissions, excessive dreaming, or severe stroke.
(5) An Overview of The Materia Medica, diseases like epilepsy and convulsions are caused by Liver Qi rebelling upward and phlegm obstructing the heart. Long Gu can help calm the inner-heat, soothe the mind, and eliminate phlegm. Combined with Mu Li, it is an excellent remedy for phlegm disorders. Its astringency is also useful in stopping sweating and leakage.
The main component of Longgu is calcium hydroxyapatite Ca5(PO4)3(OH), and it also contains small amounts of calcium carbonate, iron, aluminum, magnesium, manganese, and strontium.
Long Gu benefits
(1)Long Gu belongs to the Liver meridian and has the function of calming the Liver and suppressing Yang, which can help alleviate symptoms like spontaneous sweating and night sweats, dizziness and vertigo.
(2)Long Gu belongs to the heart meridian and has a calming and soothing effect on the Heart, which is helpful for treating conditions like insomnia, forgetfulness, palpitations, and seizures.
(3)Long Gu has astringent and tonifying effects and is good at treating conditions like non-healing ulcers, chronic diarrhea and dysentery, nocturnal emissions and enuresis, and abnormal uterine bleeding. In modern clinical practice, it is commonly used as an adjuvant therapy for eczema.
(4) Long Gu has a certain impact on the blood system because it contains a large amount of calcium ions, which can promote blood coagulation and reduce vascular permeability.
Long Gu side effects
Long Gu is sweet, slightly bitter in taste and bland in nature, belonging to the Heart, Liver, and Kidney meridians. It is advised to seek the guidance of a professional doctor when using Long Gu to avoid side effects including allergic reactions, gastrointestinal discomfort, or damp-heat syndromes, etc..
Long Gu is a Chinese traditional medicine. Patients with allergies or those who are allergic to Long Gu are at risk of experiencing reactions like itching, hives, and difficulty breathing.
Long Gu has a calming effect on the Heart and is heavy in texture. Prolonged and excessive use may damage the Stomach's Qi, leading to symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal distension, aversion to cold, and loss of appetite. Patients with Spleen and Stomach deficiencies or weaknesses should exercise caution or avoid using Long Gu to avoid worsening symptoms.
(3)Aggravation of external invasions
External invasions usually occurs when external evils invade the body, leading to symptoms like dizziness, headaches, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and phlegm. Long Gu has an astringent effect. If used in the early stages of external invasion, it may drive the pathogenic factors inward, aggravating the external invasion symptoms and making it difficult for the external evils to be discharged, leading to prolonged illness.
(4)Aggravation of damp-heat syndromes
Damp-heat syndromes refer to the invasion of damp and heat pathogens, leading to symptoms like early-afternoon fever, slow recovery, red and swollen joints, jaundice, frequent and urgent urination, dark urine, dry mouth, fullness and distension in the chest and abdomen, yellow and greasy tongue coating, and rapid pulse. Treatment for damp-heat syndromes should focus on clearing and draining damp-heat. Long Gu has an astringent and tonifying effect, and the use of such herbs may lead to the retention of damp-heat, aggravating the aforementioned symptoms. Therefore, patients with damp-heat syndromes should avoid using astringent and tonifying herbs like Long Gu during treatment.
How to take Long Gu?
An appropriate amount of Long Gu.
Crush it, and put it into a pot. Add enough water and decoct for twenty minutes. Drink the juice.
(2)Long Gu and Egg
10 grams of Long Gu and 6 eggs.
Grind Long Gu into fine powder and divide it into six portions. Make a small hole on top of each egg, put one portion of the Long Gu powder into each egg, mix well and steam until thoroughly cooked. Take one on an empty stomach every morning for six consecutive days.
This recipe can help stop bleeding, tonify Yang and protect the fetus. So it is usually used for treating lack of vitality, loss of ovulation function, dysfunctional uterine bleeding and symptoms like long-term bleeding with scare volume and the color is either normal or light.
(3)Long Gu and Ejiao Congee
15 grams of Ejiao, 15 grams of Long Gu, 6 grams of mugwort leaves, and 50-100 grams of glutinous rice.
Decoct Long Gu and mugwort leaves in water, remove the residue and take the juice. Then, take glutinous rice for making congee. Before the congee is well done, add crushed Ejiao to it and stir well. Take on an empty stomach.
This recipe can help nourish blood and stop bleeding accordingly, as well as protect the fetus. It is usually used for treating blood deficiency, fetal abnormal movement due to coldness in the lower abdomen, etc..
How to choose Long Gu?
Medical property distinguish
Irregular fragments, with the surface showing light white, greyish white, yellowish white, or light brown color. The surface is relatively smooth, and the cross-section is uneven with some small honeycomb-shaped holes. It is solid in quality and not easy to break. It has moisture-absorption property and a tongue-sticking feeling. It smells mild and tastes light.
(2)Wuhua Long Gu
The surface is pale yellowish-white, with bluish-grey and reddish-brown patterns of different depths and widths. The texture is hard, relatively brittle, and easy to flake off in pieces.
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