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Lapis (meng shi)

What is lapis? What is it used for?

Lapis is not an herb, but it is nevertheless a vital component of many traditional Chinese medicine herbal formulas. Lapis is actually a type of metamorphic rock, consisting of black mica schist or carbonate schist. It is found worldwide, and is mined throughout Asia and Europe.

In traditional Chinese medicine, lapis is considered sweet, salty and neutral, and is associated with the Lung, Heart, Liver and Stomach meridians. Its functions are to eliminate phlegm, promote digestion and remove stagnation. Among the conditions lapis treats are coughs, manic behavior, convulsions, chest congestions, and dyspepsia. It can be used with other herbs that remove phlegm and relieve coughs, including trichosanthes, fritillaria and scutellaria.

How much lapis should I take?

The type of lapis to be taken depends on the condition being treated and the way it is delivered. In pill form, the typical dosage is between six and 10 grams; in powder form, the typical dosage is between 1.5 and three grams.

What forms of lapis are available?

Lapis can be ground down into a powder and administered in decoctions and capsules. Lapis is also available in pill form, and can be incorporated with other substances to make larger formulas.

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

Lapis should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As of this writing, there are no known side-effects or drug interactions associated with lapis. As always, make sure to consult a licensed health care provider before taking lapis or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


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