Seahorse (Hai Ma)
Botanical Name: Hippocampus
Dried seahorses (also written as sea-horses) have a long history of being used medicinally in Oriental medicine. They are used whole or powdered. They are extremely popular as a male aphrodisiac and for promoting Kidney Yang. They are a bestselling tonic in China used by middle aged couples to “spice things up” in their sex life. Seahorses are also enjoyed in soup with pork and red jujubes. Sea horses are being farmed to helped protect the species from extinction. Please be aware of your source so as to protect the species and the ocean environments they belong and contribute to.
Below is an overview of Seahorse (Hai Ma), 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 Seahorse (Hai Ma).
Western Name: Seahorse
Also Known As: Sea Horse
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Reproductive System, Skin
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Aphrodisiac. Asthma, throat infections, insomnia, abdominal pain, increase sex drive, skin infections.
Pin Yin: Hai Ma (translates as “Sea Horse”)
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Liver, Kidney
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Tonifies Kidney, Kidney Yang and Yang: impotence and debility, especially in the elderly, incontinence, dribbling, asthma, wheezing. Invigorates the Blood: bleeding and pain from blood stasis, swelling due to sores and boils, abdominal masses.
Parts Most Frequently Used: The entire dried seahorse.
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Salty, Warming
Caution: Not recommended for use during pregnancy.
History/Folklore: An old Chinese saying says, “Eating seahorses keeps your 80-year-old grandpa young!” It is a raunchy reference to the herbs aphrodisiac properties. Seahorses are not an overnight cure for infertility or lack of sexual drive, but as a long term tonic they are said to work wonders. They are often steeped in wine for treating impotence.
Another ancient Chinese saying says, “North is Ginseng and South is Seahorse.” pointing to the herbs similar strength in promoting Kidney Yang, and treating impotence.
Seahorses are also used to treat asthma, respiratory ailments, circulation problems, joint pain and incontinence. Used externally they are good for restoring and cleaning the skin, and helping to prevent early signs of aging.
Seahorses are protected in China and are only legal when farmed, and not caught in the wild, that said, they continue to be illegally harvested in other parts of the world. So pay attention to your source and support farmed suppliers and not wild caught. They are sensitive to flash photography which can damage their skin and require the finest water quality in order to survive, many have also died in poorly prepared home aquariums.
Typically, seahorses are powdered and blended with other herbs. The best quality whole dry sea horses are smooth, pale and large. They can sell for up to $550 U.S. per pound.
Whole dried seahorses are popular in soups and are said to taste a bit like scallops, but are more salty and full of tiny bones.
Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life. As they only produce around 1,000 young per year, considered a very low amount by reproductive standards, this makes it difficult for them to recover if over-fished.
Seahorses area symbol of patience, friendliness, protection and perspective. In Celtic iconography they are seen as a brave and patient mariner of the sea. It is a totem for people who are calm, mild and have open minds.
Protein, Trace elements, Amino acids, Polypeptides, Phospholipids and Steroids.
A typical dosage is between 4-12 grams, mixed with boiling water and drank as a decoction. If using the powdered form than only 1-3 grams are recommended.
Powdered seahorse can be also be used externally to treat skin sores and infections.
Legends tell that using seahorse as a tonic can ensure the safety of pregnant women and their babies, helping women to bear children and safely give birth to them.
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