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Lu Feng Fang

English Name: hornet nest

Pharmaceutical Name: Nidus Vespae

Medica Category: Substances for Topical Application

Properties: Lu Feng Fang enters the Stomach and Lung channels; it is sweet in nature, neutral in temperature, and considered toxic according to TCM theory.

What is Lu Feng Fang?:

The Chinese Herb Lu Feng Fang is the dried nest of several species of wasps, the most common collected for medicinal use being Polistes mandarainus, P. olivaceus, P. japonicus, or Parapolybia varia Fabricius. The nests are collected in the autumn or winter, steamed to remove any remaining eggs or insects, and then dried in the sun in preparation for use as medicine. It can be taken internally (in small doses and under the supervision of a trained TCM practitioner) in decoction or in pill/powder form, or it can be use topically (in powder form or as a wash).

Lu Feng Fang is known in China for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor and anesthetic properties. The Chinese have successfully used it for thousands of years to treat palpable masses, joint pain and stiffness, lung diseases, skin disorders, urinary disorders, and dental diseases. In modern times it has been shown to have anti-microbial and is also used in China to combat various forms of cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Lu Feng Fang:

Lu Feng Fang is considered toxic and following the doctrine of similarities is used in TCM to address a wide variety of dermatological disorders with a toxic component to them. Some of the clinical applications of Lu Feng Fang include treating sores and carbuncles, ulcerations, mastitis, acute or chronic rashes (e.g. urticaria, rubella, and scabies), cancer, tumors, palpable masses, and scrofula.

It is also used traditionally as a warm gargle to address severe toothache with pain radiating to the side of the face (classically described as “feeling as if a worm is burrowing into the tooth”).

Lu Feng Fang dispels wind and alleviates pain to treats bi zheng (“painful obstruction syndrome”), clinically addressing rheumatoid arthritis, general joint pain and swelling, and deformed joints.

Lu Feng Fang was traditionally used in China to kill ringworms and pinworms; however, this use is obsolete because therapeutic dosage for this purpose would be toxic and can cause nephritis.

–safety/clinical notes:

General comments about TCM substances for topical application: these substances are categorized differently because many of them are toxic and so should not be used internally; nor should they be used for prolonged periods or at large dosages. This word of caution extends to using these substances over damaged or broken skin, or near sensory orifices through which they can be absorbed and do damage to sensitive/specialized tissues and mucosa. Furthermore, many of these substances are no longer used in TCM and have been added to this glossary for informational and academic purposes.

Lu Feng Fang is contraindicated for qi and/or blood deficient individuals.

Contraindicated for use with suppurated sores.

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