Coral As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book

Red Coral

Definition: Red coral or precious coral is the common name given to corallium rubrum and several related species of marine coral. Besides its widely known use as jewellery raw material, red coral is also a valuable Chinese medicinal material.

Odour & Nature: Sweet, neutral, non-toxic,

Indications & Formulas:

Powdered red coral can be used in treating macula of retina.

Powdered red coral, vermilion and resin of kaput wood can be used in treatment of blurry vision and red painful eyes.

A mixture of red coral, amber, pearl, ginseng, white atractylodes rhizome, Angelica sinensis and arisaema with bile (胆星) are to be pounded into powder; the powder can be taken to treat coma, epilepsy and metal disorders.

Powdered red coral can be used in treating hemorrhinia (nosebleed).

A mixture of powdered red coral and sesame oil can be applied externally to heal skin burns.

Acropora Pulchra

Definition: Acropora pulchra (青琅玕/石珠/青珠/石栏干) is a species of colonial stagshorn coral in the family Acroporidae. Green acropora pulchra is the better choice than the yellow ones in term of being used as medicine. Modern science also believes that acropora pulchra can help lower blood pressure.

Odour & Nature: Astringent, neutral, non-toxic,

Indications & Formulas:

Acropora pulchra powder can be applied externally to heal itchy skin, tinea nail and also help dead skin removal.

Acropora pulchra powder can be taken to treat poor blood circulation.

Wine mixed with acropora pulchra powder can be used in treatment for an excessive flow of lochia.

Fungiia Coral

Definition: Fungiia Coral (石芝), also known as Plate Coral, Disc Coral, or Mushroom Coral, are flattened single-polyp corals with a central mouth and a disc-shaped body. Fungia Coral color variations include reds, yellows, greens, oranges, and pinks and often lined with a bright color.

Indications & Formulas:

Powdered fungiia coral can be taken with water to help slow down aging.


The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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