Centipede (Wu Gong)
Botanical Name: Scolopendra Subspinipes
Centipedes are considered a pest in the West, but in China, they are also a food and a powerful medicine. They are considered to be an important anticancer and anti-tuberculosis medicine and blood moving herb. They are successfully used to treat tremors, seizures, hemiplegia due to stroke, tetanus and snake bites.
Below is an overview of Centipede (Wu Gong), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Centipede (Wu Gong).
Western Name: Centipede
Also Known As: Scolopendra
Organs/Systems: Liver, Nervous System
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Anti-inflammatory, Anticancer, Analgesic, Antifungal. Tuberculous pleuritis, tuberculosis, bone tuberculosis, mammary tuberculosis, lymphatic tuberculosis, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, uterine cancer, lip cancer, herpes.
Pin Yin: Wu Gong
Also Known As: N/A
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Calms Liver Wind/Stops Spasms: spasms, tremors, convulsions in children, twitching, seizures, drooping corners of the mouth, lock jaw, hemiplegia due to stroke, tetanus, rheumatism, chronic arthralgia, scrofula, snake bites. Relieves Toxicity/Reduces Nodules/Snake Bites: tumors, toxic nodules, sores, carbuncles, neck lumps, snake bites. Unblocks the Collaterals/Stops Pain: stubborn headaches, and painful obstructions.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Dried Whole Body
Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Spicy, Warm, Toxic
Caution: Overdosing or allergic reactions include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and slow heart beat. It is important to use this herb in conjunction with a licensed health care provider. Not recommended during pregnancy.
History/Folklore: The fossil record for centipedes dates back 430 million years ago.
The name “centipede” derives from the Latin prefix “centi-” for “hundred” and “pedis” meaning “foot.”
Centipedes are predominantly carnivorous. They are adapted to eat a variety of different available prey. Many larger animals prey upon centipedes, including mice, salamanders, beetles and snakes.
Water regulation is an important aspect of life for centipedes as they lose water rapidly in dry conditions and hence prefer moist environments.
Certain large centipedes are a food in China. They are skewered and grilled or deep fried, often sold by street vendors in large cities.
China, Thailand and Cambodia also use large centipedes steeped in liquor for long periods of time. The liquor is enjoyed as a special drink. This custom is based on healing principal’s from Traditional Chinese Medicine which uses the species as a medicine to reinvigorate Qi (Energy).
Centipedes are fast moving, agile and nocturnal. They are one of the “Five Deadly Venoms,” along with snakes, scorpions, gecko and toads.
Medicinal centipedes are captured in spring and summer, skewered with bamboo from head to tail and allowed to dry. Recommended dosage in powder form is from 0.06-0.1 grams. In decoction and teas, use 3-5 grams.
Centipede venom is used in Chinese Medicine to help treat incurable diseases. It is part of a principal to treat “deadly diseases with deadly poison.” Western science has confirmed that its toxic poison contains a histamine-like substance and hemolytic protein.
(235)-hydroxylysine, Taurine and a Histamine-like substance.
Centipedes always have an odd number of legs.
Most species of centipedes lack eyes. Their legs and antennae are used to sense their environments.
Centipedes and Scorpions
Research has confirmed that combining centipedes and scorpions is a good treatment of hemiplegic paralysis caused by stroke.
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