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Qian Dan

English Name: minium, lead oxide

Pharmaceutical Name: Minium

Medica Category: Substances for Topical Application

Properties: Qian Dan enters the Heart and Liver channels; it is bitter in nature, cool in temperature, and considered toxic according to TCM theory.

What is Qian Dan?:

The Chinese Herb Qian Dan is red lead oxide powder. Historically, it was used internally in TCM to anchor the shen (spirit) and treat seizures and convulsions; it was also used to kill parasites and treat malaria. In modern TCM, however, Qian Dan is only used topically, and even then it needs to be used according to strict safety guidelines to avoid adverse effects.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Qian Dan (external use only):

Qian Dan eliminates toxins, dispels dampness, and promotes the generation of flesh. It is used in various combinations (with other TCM herbs) to address chronic sores and ulcerations (with or without pus), itching, pain, and localized necrosis of tissue.

–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.

Qian Dan is for all intents and purposes is contraindicated for internal use.

Qian Dan is contraindicated for pregnancy, or for vomiting and nausea characterized by cold in the middle.

Long-term use and/or use over a large surface area of the body can lead to Qing Fen being absorbed systematically and should be avoided.

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