Hornet’s Nest

Hornet’s Nest (Lu Feng Fang)Hornet’s Nest (Lu Feng Fang)

Botanical Name: Eastern (most commonly used) – Nidus Vespae, Polistes mandarainus Saussure, P. olivaceus, P. japonicus Saussure, Parapolybia varia Fabricius.

There are several species of hornet’s (or wasps) nests that are used medicinally all with similar properties. While not often used in Western herbs they have a long history of medicinal value in Traditional Chinese Medicine where they are documented as being effective for treating skin rashes, promoting blood coagulation and treating mastitis. The herb is slightly toxic so dosage is important. Some Chinese doctors feel hornet’s nests have an even stronger antibacterial effect than penicillin.

Below is an overview of Hornet’s Nest (Lu Feng Fang), 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 Hornet’s Nest (Lu Feng Fang).

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Western Name: Hornet’s Nest

Also Known As: Wasp Nest, Honeycomb

Organs/Systems: Skin

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Hemostatic, Antibacterial, Possible Anticancer, Antifungal, Insecticidal, Detoxicant. Impotence, ringworm, psoriasis, toothache, skin rashes.


Pin Yin: Lu Feng Fang

Also Known As: Feng Fang

Meridians: Lung, Stomach, Kidney, Liver

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Reduces Inflammation/Relieves Pain: arthritis, joint aches, carbuncles, stubborn psoriasis, breast cancer. Expels Wind Heat and Wind Damp: pain caused by Wind Heat, toothache, rashes, mastitis. Nourishes Jing: impotence, leucorrhea, chronic coughs. Promotes Blood Clotting. Counteracts Toxic Substances.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

The female wasp Polistes mandarinus is black and about 20-25 cm long. It has a triangular head and 1 pair of eyes and antennae, with 2 pairs of wings with the front wings being larger than the hind wings.

Produced all over China, especially in Southern China. Wasp nests are also found on porches, air conditioners, above front doors, attics, chimneys, high trees and in window frames.

Hornet’s Nest (Lu Feng Fang)Parts Most Frequently Used: Dried Wasp Nest, Raw or Fried

Flavors/Temps: Slightly Sweet, Neutral, Mildly Toxic

Caution: Due to slight toxicity improper dosing and preparation can lead to poisoning with early stage signs such as fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, facial swelling, limbs and back pain. Large doses can cause nephritis. Not recommended where skin sores have already burst.

History/Folklore: In China, the history of using hornet’s nests as a medicine dates all the way back to the first herbal monogram book called the Sheng Nong Ben Cao (Agricultural God’s Canon of Materia Medica).

The nests are collected in the autumn and winter, then dried in the sun, or slightly steamed to remove the dead wasps and nest eggs and then dried in the sun.

There are several varieties of wasp nests used to make medicines with the most common species being Polistes mandarainus, P. olivaceus, P. japonicus, or Parapolybia varia Fabricius.

Do not confuse hornet’s nests with the popular herb “oak galls.” Oak galls are formed on many species of oak trees and are caused by the chemicals injected by gall wasps (in the family Cynipidea) into the barks of the oak trees. They are about 2-4 centimeters in diameter and are typically used to promote vaginal health in women. Some Chinese doctors claim that the antibacterial effects of hornet’s nest is even better than penicillin.

Hornet’s nest is known for shortening blood coagulation time.

The Chinese have successfully used hornet’s nest in treating various cancers, including breast cancer. The herb continues to be studied in order to better understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to its being effective in treating various cancers. The herb is known in China for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor and anesthetic properties. The Chinese have successfully used Nidus Vespae for thousands of years to treat malignant tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, lung diseases, skin disorders, urinary disorders and dental diseases.

The recommended honeycomb dosage is typically 5-10g in decoction and 2-5g in powder form 0.3g of dry-fried hornet’s nest in wine taken 4x a day for 3 days can help cure mastitis with no toxic side effects being noted. This approach is not recommended for suppurative mastitis.

Good quality is greyish-white, lightweight, elastic and will have long, small holes.

Wasps prey on other insects such as caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other small insects. In the late summer and fall their diets shift to include a preference for sweet flavors which is why you will then find them attracted to your soda drinks while on picnics or eating outside at this time of year.

In Native American cultures wasps, hornets and yellow-jackets are associated with the energy of powerful female warriors. They are a symbol for sisterhood, compassion, power with humility and the power of duality. They are a sign of harmonizing life and death, yin and yang, and making life-affirming transformations. They are comfortable in groups but can also stand alone. Wasp people are independent thinkers. They are said to be the holders of the secrets of sacred geometry as they always build six sided nests.

Key Constituents:

Mainly a toxic volatile Honeycomb oil (Beeswax, Resin, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Inorganic salts, Calcium, Iron, Protein).

Did you know?

Promotes Blood Clotting

Hornet’s nest extract prepared in acetone is considered in China to be the best at promoting blood clotting. It is often considered better than other hemostatic pharmaceutical varieties on the market.



An ointment or wash made from hornet’s nest is good for treating scabies, psoriasis, ringworm, swollen glands, sores and carbuncles.

Fun fact!


A gargle made from hornet’s nest is useful for treating toothache, especially one that feels “as if a worm is burrowing in the tooth.”

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