Seahorse (Hai Ma)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).

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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.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Seahorses are actually a type of fish, with long curling tails, a spiny body and a crowned head with a protruding snout that resembles a horse. There are about 54 different species, in the genus Hippocampus. They are slow swimmers and consume thousands of brine shrimp and other tiny marine organisms every day. They can vary in size from less than a quarter of an inch to over a foot in length.

Seahorses are found throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. They live in seaweed beds.

Seahorse (Hai Ma)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.

Key Constituents:

Protein, Trace elements, Amino acids, Polypeptides, Phospholipids and Steroids.

Did you know?


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.

Fun fact!

Promote Childbirth

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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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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