Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chan Tui (Periostracum Cicadae)

This charming visitor dropped by this week, it has been a very busy time here in pretty medicine land. While our visitor may not be 'pretty', it's shell is used in Chinese medicine so of course I have to write about and photograph this curious cicada. The shell is in the category of Cool and Acrid Herbs that Release the Exterior. The properties, according to Bensky and Gamble are sweet, salty, and slightly cold, and enters the Lung and Liver channels.
The cicada moulting is used in formulas with other components of herbal medicinals to disperse heat and alleviate sore throats, it vents rashes, clears heat in the eyes and stops spasms and convulsions. 
Cicadas have a life cycle of 13- 17 years and emerge from under the ground to sing and find their mate. The male adults attract the females through their song on warm sunny days, as I am writing this entry I can hear a cicada song. 

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