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Gecko (ge jie)

What is gecko? What is it used for?

Gecko is not an herb, but an animal: the gecko lizard — in particular, the red-spotted and/or toad-headed varieties. A typical gecko ranges from 6 to 15 inches in length, with a grey body, a triangular head and a thin tail.

In times of stress, or to avoid a predator, the gecko often sheds its tail as a means of defense. The tail is typically used in herbal preparations, although some practitioners may use the entire body (removed of its head and internal organs, dried and ground into a powder).

In traditional Chinese medicine, gecko has a salty taste and is slightly warm in nature, and affects the Lung and Kidney meridians. One of the most popular uses for gecko is the treatment of asthma. In Chinese medicine, asthma is a problem of the kidneys (more specifically, a deficiency of kidney yang energy), and gecko can treat this quite condition quite effectively. Gecko is also used to treat impotence and enhance sexual function in men, and to increase endurance. Occasionally, gecko is incorporated into other formulas to treat coughs and cold.

How much gecko should I take?

The recommended dose of gecko is 3-9 grams per day, taken as a powder or pill. It can also be decocted in boiling water.

What forms of gecko are available?

Gecko powders and pills are popular in most herbal shops and Asian markets.

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

Gecko is contraindicated in patients who are suffering from colds or flu due to underlying hot conditions. There are no known drug interactions with gecko. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking gecko or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Chen JH. Identification of several adulterants of ge jie. Zhong Yao Tong Bao Sep 1982;7(5):10. In Chinese.
  • Connett GJ, Lee BW. Treating childhood asthma in Singapore: when West meets East. BMJ 1994; 308:1282-1284.
  • Gong Q, Yu R, Wang W, et al. The processing of gekko gecko and the pharmacological action of its different parts. Zhong Yao Cai April 1998;21(4):194-7. In Chinese.
  • KPC Herbs Catalog, 5th edition. Irvine, CA: KPC Products, 2001, p. 27.
  • Teeguarden R. Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs. New York: Warner Books, 1998, p. 209-210.
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