English Name: Smithsonitum
Pharmaceutical Name: smithsonite, calamine
Medica Category: Substances for Topical Application
Properties: Lu Gan Shi enters the Liver and Stomach channels; it is sweet in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Lu Gan Shi (commonly known as calamine) is a carbonate mineral comprising mainly zinc plus a number of other oxides which is known in the West as smithsonite. In China it is mined in Guangxi, Sichuan, and Hunan provinces. For use as medicine it is first calcined then quenched in vinegar or a combination of heat-clearing herbs (depending on its purpose). For ophthalmic applications it is then processed with the method called feng shui (which is the process of grinding insoluble minerals with water into a fine powder); or it can be less finely ground for other topical applications (see below).
Lu Gan Shi eliminates toxins, brightens the eyes, and removes superficial visual obstructions to address such clinical presentations as red and swollen eyes, pterygium, excessive tearing, and increased sensitivity to light.
Lu Gan Shi dries dampness and generates flesh and is used topically to address a variety of skin disorders (with or without open sores); often used for draining pus and slow/non-healing wounds.
Contraindicated for internal use.