Introduction To Sulphur (liu huang)

TCM China:

   Introduction To Sulphur (liu huang)











Sulphur (liu huang)


Properties: Sour in flavour, warm in nature, it is toxic and tropistic to the kidney and large intestine channels. When used externally, it has a good effect in destroying parasites and relieving itching and is rather effective for scabies; when taken orally, it functions in strengthening Yang and relaxing the bowels, serving to treat constipation due to Yang-deficiency.

Effects: Strengthening yang and relaxing the bowels when taken orally; dystroying parasites and relieving itching when used externally.


1. For intractable tinea and scabies, this drug is grinded into powder, mixed with sesame oil and applied to the affected area. The smoke of burning sulphur can be used for pruritus vulvae and eczema.

2. For insufficiency of kidney-yang with constipation of the deficiency-cold type, it is often used with Rhizoma Pinelliae to invigorate yang and ease bowel movement.

In addition, it can also be used for kidney-yang deficiency with impotence and premature ejaculation as swell as asthma or cough due to kidney deficiency.

Dosage and Administration: 1-3g for oral dose, used in pills or powder; appropriate amount for external use.

Agkistrodon Snake (bai hua she)

  Agkistrodon acutus

Properties: Sweet and salty in flavour, warm in nature, being poisonous, it acts on liver channel. The action may pass through exterior to interior, promoting the bone and expelling the wind, clearing the channels to arrest convulsion. It is suitable for rheumatic arthralgia, headache due to latent wind, tetanus, leprosy, intractable tinea, etc.

Effects: Expelling the wind and clearing channel, arresting the wind and convulsion.


1.  For rheumatic arthralgia, muscle spasm, it is used in combination with pubescent angelica root (Radix Angelicae pubescentis), Chinese angelica root (Radix Angelicae sinensis) and acanthopanax bark ( Cortex Acanthopanacis radicis), soaking in wine for drinking; for aphonia caused by apoplexy or hemiplagia, it is used together with astragalus root ( Radix Astragali seu Hedysari), and Chinese angelica root to tonify the Qi and blood, expel the wind and clear channels.

2.    For opisthotonus caused by tetanus, it is often used together with scorpion (Scorpio), gastrodia tuber ( Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Arisaema consanguineum Schott; for infantile convulsion caused by high fever, it is used in combination with cow bezoare (Calculus Bovis) and Arisaema Bilis.

In addition, it is suitable for headache caused by latent wind, chronic infantile convulsion due to insufficiency of spleen, leprosy and intractable tinea.

Dosage and Administration: 3-10g in decoction; 0.5-1g in powder. One whole snake for decoction; 0.5-1g for powder.

Zaocys Dhumnades (Cantor)

It belongs to Calubridae (Family Zaocys). This drug is the whole snake after removal of its viscera. Sweet in flavour, neutral in nature, and nonpoisonous, its effects are similar to those of Agkistrodon snake but milder. The usual dosage is 5-10g, 2-3g in powder.