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Limonite (yu liang shi)

What is limonite? What is it used for?

Although limonite is not an herb, it is nevertheless an important component of traditional Chinese medicine. Although it is considered a mineral by some people, in fact, limonite is not a true mineral, but a mixture of several hydrated iron oxide minerals, primarily geothite.

Limonite ranges in color from yellow to orange, reddish-brown, and even black. It is crumbly, has a dull, earthy luster, and is characterized by having a lack of crystal form.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, limonite has sweet, astringent and neutral properties, and is associated with the Large Intestine and Stomach meridians. It helps promote contractions of the large intestine to prevent diarrhea. Some practitioners also use limonite to treat dysentery.

How much limonite should I take?

The typical dose of limonite is between 10 and 20 grams, taken with water as a decoction. It should be strained out or removed from the decoction before being consumed.

What forms of limonite are available?

Powdered limonite can be found at some herbal shops and specialty stores.

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

Because limonite can promote contractions of the uterus, it should not be taken by pregnant women, as large amounts may induce labor. As of this writing, there is no specific data indicating that limonite may produce any adverse side-effects or interactions with any drugs. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking limonite or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Chen J. Chron's disease: Western and Oriental perspectives, part II. Acupuncture Today, January 2001.
  • Limonite. Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, 2005.
  • Limonite. Encyclopedia Britannica online. Available online.
  • Yu liang shi. Available online.
  • Yu liang shi. Available online.
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