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Tiger Bone (hu gu)

What is tiger bone? What is it used for?

Tiger bone comes from the tiger (panthera tigris L.), which is found throughout Africa and some parts of Asia, and is becoming increasingly rare worldwide.

Tiger bone is yellowish-white in appearance, with a hollow, sponge-like interior. Typically, the tiger's leg bones are used as a medicinal. The bones are harvested after a tiger is captured and killed, then dried in the shade and ground into a powder. Tiger bone may also be soaked in wine before being powdered.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, tiger bone has pungent and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver and Kidney meridians. Its main functions are to dispel wind and dampness, and to strengthen the bones and tendons. Tiger bone is often employed to treat rheumatic pain, along with back pain, muscle spasms and joint problems. Tiger bone is sometimes used with other products, such as rehmannia root, cyathula and acanthopanax.

How much tiger bone should I take?

The typical dosage of tiger bone is between 3 and 6 grams, added to hot water and drunk as a decoction.

What forms of tiger bone are available?

Tiger bone is available in a variety of forms, ranging from pills and powders to capsules and tablets. In some instances, the bones of other animals, such as dogs and pigs, are substituted for tiger bone, but these are usually of lesser quality and potency than tiger bone.

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

The sale of tiger bone is illegal in many countries. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has included the tiger as an endangered species. As such, any use of tiger bone as a medicinal is strongly discouraged. The information in this article is being provided strictly on an informational basis, and should in no way be construed as an endorsement of the sale and use of tiger bone as a medicinal.


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Date Last Modified - Monday, 27-Jul-2009 08:56:54 PDT