What Is Niu Huang (Calculus Bovis)

Niu Huang is also known as Calculus Bovis, Ox bezoars, or Natural Calculus Bovis and is the stone in the gallbladder, bile duct and liver duct of cattle or buffalo. It is a rare animal medicine with a medicinal history of more than 2300 years.

It is said that Bian Que is the first person to treat disease using Niu Huang. In a course of treating disease, he misused Niu Huang to cure the disease. Later he recorded the effect of it.

When the cattle is slaughtered, people take out the stones of the cattle and dry them to make Chinese medicine. Niu Huang is 0.6-4.5 cm in diameter. The shape of it is spherical, elliptical, triangular, square or tubular.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the smell of Niu Huang is fragrant, the taste of it is bitter with sweet, and the mouthfeel of it is crisp and cool. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart and liver meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Niu Huang is often used to treat sore throat, canker sores, skin ulcers, upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, and schizophrenia. About 650 kinds of Chinese patent medicines containing it.

Cattle are less likely to suffer from the stone disease, so the output of Niu Huang is not high.

Its consumption is about 200 tons per year. The output of Niu Huang can not meet the demand for medication, and pharmacists have developed Artificial Calculus Bovis and Calculus Boris Sativus.

Artificial Calculus Bovis and Calculus Boris Sativus

Artificial Calculus Bovis was first developed in the 1960s. Its main ingredients include bovine bile powder, taurine, cholic acid, hyodeoxycholic acid, bilirubin, cholesterol, trace elements, etc.
Many of its ingredients are from pigs or sheep. It is formulated according to the known ingredients of Natural Calculus Bovis.

Calculus Boris Sativus is made by adding complex bilirubin calcium, cholic acid and calcium deoxycholate to fresh bovine bile.

Compared with Artificial Calculus Bovis, the composition of Calculus Boris Sativus is more similar to that of Natural Calculus Boris.

Their efficacy comparison: Natural Calculus boris > Calculus boris Sativus > Artificial Calculus bovis

Most of Niu Huang in the Chinese patent medicines can be replaced with the Artificial Calculus bovis, such as Niu Huang Jie Du Pian, Niu Huang Shang Qing Wan, and Niu Huang Qing Wei Pian.

In Chinese regulations, 42 proprietary Chinese medicines prohibit the use of Artificial Calculus Bovis instead of Calculus Bovis, such as An Gong Niu Huang Pian, Da Huo Luo Wan, and Xi Huang Wan.

Health benefits of Niu Huang

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-pathogen, anti-oxidation, and inhibit tumor growth.
  • Inhibiting the central nervous system and having sedative, analgesic and anticonvulsant effects.
  • Treating sore throat, mouth and tongue, skin ulcer, clearing away heat, and detoxification.
  • Treating arrhythmia, distending peripheral blood vessels, contracting coronary arteries, lowering blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, and preventing thrombosis.
  • Promoting bile secretion, enhancing the absorption of lipids and fat-soluble vitamins, and preventing liver damage.
  • Contracting the uterine smooth muscle and relieving smooth muscle spasm.
  • Treating upper respiratory tract infections and exciting the respiratory system. Artificial Calculus Bovis can treat cough, asthma, and phlegm.
  • Treating apoplexy, epilepsy, convulsion, palpitation, unconsciousness, fever and mania caused by toxic heat.

Niu Huang is used with other Chinese herbs

  • Niu Huang with Da Huang (Rhubarb Root) can treat constipation caused by fever.
  • Niu Huang with Zhen Zhu (Pearl) can cure oral ulcer and sore throat.
  • Niu Huang with Shi Gao (Gypsum), and Da Qing Ye (Folium Isatidis) can treat wind-heat.
  • External using Niu Huang with She Xiang (Musk), Bing Pian (Borneol), San Qi (Panax notoginseng), and Wu Bei Zi (Galla Chinensis) can treat hemorrhoids.
  • Niu Huang with San Qi (Panax notoginseng), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong), Hong Hua (Flos Carthami), Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) and Rou Gui (Cortex Cinnamomi) can regulate blood circulation and eliminate extravasated blood.
  • Niu Huang with Huang Qin (Scutellaria Baicalensis Root), Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassia), Bing Pian (Borneol), Bai Shao (White Peony Root), Huang Qi (Astragalus Root), and Bo He (Mentha) can lower blood pressure and eliminate phlegm.

Side effects of Niu Huang

Excessive use of it may cause diarrhea, hand and foot palsy, arrhythmia, semi-coma, coma, respiratory and circulatory failure.

A small number of people will cause an allergic reaction after taking it. Such as fever, dizziness, nausea, itchy skin, pimples, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Precautions of Niu Huang

  • The dosage of Niu Huang should be controlled at 0.15-0.35g.
  • It is often ground into powder for oral or external use.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.
  • People with hypotension should not take it.
  • People with weak of spleen and stomach should not use it.