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Drynaria (Gu Sui Bu)

What is drynaria? What is it used for?

Drynaria is a hardy plant, which grows to a height of approximately four feet. It consists of a thin wooden stem, with several branches containing green fern-like leaves, or fronds. The rhizome, or root, is used in herbal remedies.

In traditional Chinese medicine, drynaria is considered one of the most important herbs that can be used to heal damaged bones and ligaments; in fact, the literal name of drynaria in Chinese is "mender of shattered bones." It has bitter and warm properties, and is associated with the Kidney and Liver meridians. In addition to its use on ligaments and bones, drynaria can treat toothaches, tinnitus and bleeding gums. It also stimulates the growth of hair, and can be applied topically to treat conditions like alopecia.

How much drynaria should I take?

The typical dosage of drynaria is between 6-18 grams, taken up to three times daily. Some health care providers may also recommend 10-20 grams of drynaria rhizome taken with water as a decoction.

What forms of drynaria are available?

Drynaria rhizome is available whole and dried, or in pill, powder and decoction forms. Drynaria can be found at most health food stores and herbal shops.

What can happen if I take too much drynaria? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Drynaria should not be taken by patients with severe yin deficiency. Large quantities or overdoses of drynaria can lead to upset stomach and toxicity. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with drynaria. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking drynaria or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press, 1998.
  • Li Liu Z, et al. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1997;38(9):554-556.
  • Shu Ma Z, et al. China Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1999;34(2):82-85.
  • Shui ZT, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica 1994;25(4):175-178.
  • Zhen Y, et al. China Journal of Sports Medicine 1998;17(1):34-37.
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