Nature: bitter, cold
Enters: Liver, Heart
Actions: Clears the heart, strongly opens the orifices, awakens the Shen by resolving phlegm; extinguishes liver wind, relieves tremors; clears heat; eliminates toxicity.
• Heat-toxicity: painful, red, swollen or ulcerated throat, canker sores, boils, carbuncles, ulcers, sores, herpes lesions, and a wide variety of hot swellings.
• Liver wind (due to extreme pathogenic heat): spasms, tremors, (infant) convulsions.
• Heat or phlegm-heat blocks the heart in wind-stroke or epilepsy: coma, difficulty speaking, delirium, seizures.
• Note: this herb should not be used alone for phlegm, as its cold nature may congeal the phlegm.
• Not as strong as She xiang at opening the orifices.
• The genuine article is expensive and difficult to find. The lab produced variety (Ren gong niu huang) is available, which is comparable to the true herb for treating heat-toxicity, but is weaker than the true herb at opening the orifices.
• Bensky/Gamble classifies with herbs that open the orifices.
MLT: Due to its rarity and expense, it is mostly used in the patent Niu Huang Jie Du Pian.
• With rhinoceros or water buffalo horn: for legionnaire’s disease, meningitis, encephalitis.
Hsu: Sedative to the CNS, respiratory, and circulatory systems; cardiotonic; raises blood pressure; stimulates RBC and hemoglobin production.
Dose: 0.15-1g (used only in pills and powders)