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Ci Shi

English Name: lodestone, magnetite

Pharmaceutical Name: Magnetitum

Medica Category: Shen Calming Herbs

Properties: Ci Shi enters the Liver, Kidney, and Heart channels; it is acrid and salty in nature and cold in temperature.

What is Ci Shi?:

The Chinese Herb Ci Shi is a magnetic mineral ore called magnetite, which is a dull brown or black in color when mined (primarily in Jiangsu, Shandong, Liaoning, Guangdong, Anhui and Hebei provinces). Although it can be used unprocessed as medicine, usually the calcined form is preferred (i.e. dipped in vinegar and heat treated) as calcination makes the active constituents easier for the body to use.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Ci Shi:

Ci Shi is salty and heavy and is used in TCM to anchor Liver yang rising when it is disturbing the Heart (and thereby disturbing the shen). Clinical presentations of this pattern of disharmony include problems with hearing (e.g. tinnitus and impaired hearing), problems with the eyes (e.g. blurred vision), dizziness,  and headaches as well as signs of disturbed shen (e.g. insomnia, palpitations, restlessness and anxiety).

Ci Shi nourishes Liver and Kidney yin, which can often improve hearing and brighten the eyes when a yin-deficient person is presenting with tinnitus, dizziness, and/or blurred vision (see the formula Er Long Zuo Ci Tang for kidney yin deficiency with tinnitus).

–safety notes:

Ci Shi is difficult to digest when taken as powder or pills and therefore contraindicated for long term use. (n.b. The herb Shen Qu is specifically indicated to help the Spleen digest “difficult-to-digest” substances such as Ci Shi).

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