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Halloysite (chi shi zhi)

What is halloysite? What is it used for?

Halloysite is not an herb, but a clayish mineral comprised mainly of silica, aluminum and other elements. Also known as kaolin, halloysite is found in the mountainous regions of China and other parts of Asia, and is mined year-round. After being mined, halloysite deposits are cleaned, then ground into powder.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, halloysite has sweet, sour and warm properties, and is associated with the Spleen, Stomach and Large Intestine meridians. It acts as an astringent, helping to constrict tissues, making it a good remedy for conditions such as diarrhea and excessive bleeding. It is particularly effective for bouts of prolonged diarrhea or dysentery and leucorrhea. Halloysite also treats external disorders such as skin lesions, ulcers and boils.

In addition to its medicinal properties, halloysite has some industrial uses. Some manufacturers used it as a coloring agent; others use it as a food additive.

How much halloysite should I take?

The typical dose of halloysite is between 10 and 20 grams, decocted in water for oral use. Halloysite can also be used externally, with an appropriate amount applied directly to the skin, or mixed with water and applied to the skin.

What forms of halloysite are available?

Hallosyite is available most often as a powder, and can be purchased at some herbal shops and specialty stores. Whole halloysite may be found at some gem and mineral shops.

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

Because halloysite is not an herb, its safety has yet to be determined by the herbal industry. However, halloysite is known to interact negatively with cassia bark, and should not be used in conjunction with that herb. It should also be used with caution by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and should be avoided by patients suffering from diarrhea caused by stagnancy of damp/heat. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking halloysite or any other herbal product or dietary supplement.

References

  • Anthony JW, et al. Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd ed. University of Arizona Press, 1995, p.174.
  • Bradl HB. Adsorption of heavy metal ions on soils and soils constituents. J Colloid Interface Sci September 1, 2004;277(1):1-18.
  • Li K, Liu H, Ma Y, et al. Adsorption characteristics of three types of surfactants in soils. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao November 2004;15(11):2067-71.
  • Mendes JC, Silva MC. On the use of porous materials to simulate evaporation in the human sweating process. Eur J Appl Physiol September 2004;92(6):654-7.
  • Uyama H, Kuwabara M, Tsujimoto T, et al. Organic-inorganic hybrids from renewable plant oils and clay. Macromol Biosci March 15, 2004;4(3):354-60.

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