Shi Gao – Gypsum – Gypsum Fibrosum

Shi Gao

English Name: gypsum

Literal Translation: “stone paste”

Pharmaceutical Name: Gypsum Fibrosum

Medica Category: Heat-Clearing and Fire-Purging Herbs

Properties: Shi Gao enters the Lung and Stomach channels; it is acrid and sweet in nature and very cold in temperature.

What is Shi Gao?:

Shi Gao is a Chinese Herb also known as fibrous gypsum, a mineral with a satiny sheen to it (comprising mainly calcium and sulfur) that is found in and around sedimentary deposits of limestone and ancient ocean beds. In China, it is mainly found in Hubei, Anhui, Henan and Shandong provinces. For use as medicine it is crushed and the impurities are removed (i.e. made into powder and mixed with other Chinese herbs in formula).

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

Shi Gao clears heat, sedates fire, relieves irritability, and quenches thirst: Shi Gao sedates fire in the Lung and Stomach without drying up body fluids and is commonly used to treat high fevers that have sunk down below the exterior layers (heat in the Qi energy level).

In formula, Shi Gao clears Lung heat to re-regulate the ascending and descending functions of the Lung that have been disrupted by said heat (but does not, strictly speaking, relieve the cough itself).

Shi Gao treats nausea and vomiting due to Stomach heat that is causing the qi to rebel (w/Ban Xia and Zhu Ru) and also clears heat anywhere along the Stomach channel as well.

Calcined Shi Gao (processed by heating and pulverizing) clears heat, treats necrosis and generates flesh (topically or orally) and can be used as such to treat sores, burns, and eczema.