Turtle and Animal Products in Chinese Medicine

April 26, 2018

There are two turtle products available in granules from KPC:

  • Gui Ban (Testudinis Plastrum), the shell of the freshwater turtle. Gui Ban (if taken from the wild) is under protection and requires a CITES certificate. It’s salty, sweet and cold and particularly used to nourish the yin and anchor the yang. It also benefits the kidneys and strengthens the bones and is black in color. It’s used in gynecological conditions to stabilize the penetrating and conception vessels equally and can address uterine bleeding. Due to its sweet flavor it’s capable of generating yin and fluids. To produce the granule, these animals are cultivated. To harvest the shell, the turtle is killed, the shell is cleaned and dried and then made into granules (pulverized as not able to extract).


  • Bie Jia (Trionycis Carapax) is the shell of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle. It’s salty and only slightly cold but not sweet in flavor. It also nourishes the yin whilst anchoring the yang and it greatly appreciated in situations of yin deficiency fevers, steaming bone disorders and night sweats. Bie Jia can invigorate the blood and promote menstruation. For accumulations and nodules or other palpable masses, it’s best combined with other substances such as San Leng, E Zhu, Qing Pi, Da Huang, Hu Po, E Jiao, Ai Ye or Dang Gui. To produce the granule, these animals are cultivated. To harvest the shell, the turtle is killed, the shell is cleaned and dried. The substance is then made into a granule (pulverized as not able to extract).

You will find both herbs in the Tonifying Herbs chapter in the section of the Yin tonics (1).

All meat from these animals is used for human consumption. As these products are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, you must specify with your patient if they are to be prescribed or dispensed. Also, no animal products are available as liquid extracts as the restrictions in Europe are much higher.

We are currently interested in how many practitioners use animal products in their clinics and are looking forward to your feedback.

The following animal products are used in a variety of herbal formulas. They are determined base on the Chinese medicine diagnosis of pattern differentiation. Please note that Chinese herbs ought to be prescribed by a trained Chinese medicine practitioner. The modality (Chinese herbal medicine) requires years of study and training.

Find a list of animal products below

Chan Tui – Cicada molting (Cicadae Periostracum)

Ye Ming Sha – Bat feces (Vespertilionis Faeces)

Shui Niu Jiao – Waterbuffalo horn (Bubali Cornu)

Can Sha – Silkworm feces (Bombycis Faeces)

Bai Hua She – Viper (Agkistrodon)

Wu Shao She – Black striped snake (Zaocys)

She Tui – Snake skin slough (Serpentis Periostracum)

Ji Nei Jin – Gizzard lining (Gigeriae Galli Endothelium)

Jiu Xiang Chong – Stinkbug (Aspongopus)

Wu Ling Zhi – Flying squirel feces (Trogopterori Faeces)

Shui Zhi – Leech (Hirudo)

Tu Bie Chong – Ground beetle (Eupolyphaga/Steleophaga)

Meng Chong – Horse fly (Tabanus)

E Jiao – Donkey skin gel (Asini Corii Colla)

Lu Rong – Deer velvet (Cervi Cornu Pantotrichum)

Lu Jiao – Mature antler (Cervi Cornu)

Lu Jiao Jiao – Mature antler glue (Cervi Cornu Colla)

Lu Jiao Shuang – Mature deer antler dredges (Cervi Cornu Degelatinatum)

Ge Jie – Gecko (Gecko)

Dong Chong Xiao Cao – Chinese caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps)

Hai Gou Shen – Male seal sexual organs (Callorhini Testes et Penis)

Hai Long – Pipe fish (Syngnathus)

Hai Shen – Sea cucumber (Stichopus)

Bie Jia – Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Trionycis Carapax)

Wu Bei Zi – Gallnut of Chinese sumac (Galla Chinensis)

Hai Piao Xiao – Cuttlefish bone (Sepiae Endoconcha)

Sang Piao Xiao – Mantis egg-case (Mantidis Ootheca)

She Xiang – Navel gland secretions of the musk deer (Moschus)

Niu Huang – Cattle bezoar (Bovis Calculus)

Di Long – Earth worm (Pheretima)

Bai Jian Can – Silworm body (Bombyx batryticatus)

Quan Xie – Scorpio (Scorpio)

Wu Gong – Centipede (Scolopendra)

Ban Mao –  Mylabris beetle (Mylabris)

Chan Su – Toad venom (Bufonis Venenum)

Feng Fang – Wasp nest (Vespae Nidus)

Endangered species (requiring CITES clearance if taken from the wild):

Xiong Dan – Bear gallbladder (Vesica Fellea Ursi)

Chuan Sha Jia – Pangolin Scales (Manitis Squama)

Dai Mao –  Hawsbill turtle shell (Eretmochelydis Carapax)

Gui Ban – Freshwater turtle (Testudinis Plastrum)

Hai Mai – Sea horse (Hippocampus)

Hou Zao – Macque stone (Macacae mulattae Calculus)

Hu Gu – Tiger bones (Tigris Os)

Ling Yan Jiao – Antelope horn (Saigae tataricae)

(1) Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, 3rd edition, Dan Besnky, Steven Clavey, Erich Stoeger with Andrew Gamble, 2004



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