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Hu Gu – Tiger Bone – Os Tigris

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Hu Gu

English Name: tiger bone

Pharmaceutical Name: Os Tigris

Medica Category: Wind Damp Dispelling Herbs – Tendon and Bone Strengthening Herbs

Properties: Hu Gu enters the Liver and Kidney channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Hu Gu?:

The Chinese Herb Hu Gu is dry-fried (or fried in sesame oil) tiger bones (Os Tigris) that were then macerated in rice wine. This substance is now banned by international treaty (as well as the PRC government) due to tigers being endangered species (see note below**).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Hu Gu:

Hu Gu is dispersing, warming, and tonifying in nature and was historically used to dispel wind, relieve pain, and open the channels and collaterals to strengthen muscles, ligaments/tendons, and bones. It was the herb of choice for soreness of the back and lower knee, but in modern times other herbs are used for wind related pain (e.g. the formula Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan to take just one example).

**Hu Gu is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Farms and Flora (CITES). Trade in Hu Gu (and consequently its use in any form) is strictly prohibited. This means that the information in this herb glossary is provided for the student of Chinese Medicine who wishes to understand the classical properties and uses of this herb so that proper substitutions can be chosen and used in its place. It also means that if you are a non-practitioner/consumer who comes across a product that lists this herb as a component, either the claim is fraudulent or the manufacturers are breaking international law.

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