Health Articles:
Ask A Doctor (Forum)
What is Chiropractic? About My First Visit What's Best for Me?

Herbs & Botanicals

horizontal rule
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
horizontal rule
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)

What is tortoise plastron? What is it used for?

Tortoise plastron refers to the ventral, or abdominal, surface of the shell of a freshwater tortoise. The plastron is removed from the tortoise, cleaned, then dried in the sun for use.

In traditional Chinese medicine, tortoise plastron is associated with the Liver, Kidney and Heart meridians, and has sweet, salty and cold properties. Its main functions are to nourish yin and subdue yang, and to tonify the kidneys and strengthen the bones. It treats conditions such as muscle and tendon problems, weakness in the knees and lower back, coughs, fevers, and palpitations. It is considered an important tonic herb. Tortoise plastron is often used with other herbs, such as rehmannia root and dragon's bone.

How much tortoise plastron should I take?

The typical dosage of tortoise plastron is between 10 and 30 grams. The plastron is cooked first, then mixed in with other herbs as part of a decoction.

What forms of tortoise plastron are available?

Some Asian markets sell whole or sliced tortoise plastron. Tortoise plastron is also available in some stores as a powder.

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

Tortoise plastron should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking tortoise plastron or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Chen JK. Acupuncture and herbs in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and Parkinson's disease. Medical Acupuncture Spring/Summer 1999;11(1).
  • Cohen I, Tagliaferri M, Tripathy D. Traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of breast cancer, part three. Available online.
  • Flaws B. Somnambulism and Chinese medicine. Available online.
  • Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute Herb Database. Available online.
  • Valero V. Primary chemotherapy with docetaxel for the management of breast cancer. Oncology (Hunting) June 2002;16(6 Suppl 6):35-43.
horizontal rule