Liver Sedative Herbs: Hangover Cure?

These drugs have specific affinity for the liver and function to “calm ascending liver-yang” and all its attendant nervous symptoms. Many serious nervous ailments are directly related to liver dysfunction. “Stop the wind” means to impede the nervous energy “wind” which emanates from a diseased or inflamed liver and injures other parts. Common symptoms of uncontrolled ascending “liver-wind” are blurry vision, nervous excitability quick temper, convulsions, dizziness, hangover and delirium and other disorders of the central nervous system. Nervous disorders are often best remedied by highly toxic drugs.

These drugs must be carefully selected according to differential diagnosis to insure that the right type of liver sedative is chosen to match the specific causes of the liver’s dysfunction. Patients with weak spleens and chronic spasmic conditions should avoid the cool and cold liver sedatives. Those with blood deficiency and yin-injuries should use the warm and hot liver sedatives sparingly.



Natural distribution: Northwestern China.

Parts used: Horn.

Nature: Salty; cold.

Affinity: Liver.

Effects: Sedative to liver; antipyretic; antispasmodic; improves vision.

Indications: Symptoms of ascending liver-yang excess: giddyness, blurry vision, headache; convulsions and spasms; epilepsy; excess body heat; delirium; swollen, painful eyes.

Dosage: 1.5-3 g.

Remarks: The drug is very expensive today, so is generally prescribed as part of pill prescriptions, not brews; lowers blood pressure; effective preventive in strokes.




Natural distribution: World-wide.

Parts used: Crushed or powdered shell.

Nature: Salty, slightly cold.

Affinity: Liver.

Effects: Sedative to liver; antipyretic; improves vision.

Indications: Dizziness, giddyness, blurry vision, painful and swollen eyes and other liver-yang ascending symptoms.

Dosage: 15-30 g.

Remarks: Especially effective remedy for cataracts.




Natural distribution: West China, Tibet, Korea, Japan.

Parts used: Rhizomes Nature: Sweet; slightly warm.

Affinity: Liver.

Effects: Sedative to liver; clear the meridians

Indications: Giddyness and fainting due to liver inflammations; convulsions due to heat excess; headaches; numbness.

Dosage: 5-10 g.

Remarks: This drug is most effective against dizziness and giddyness due to liver inflammations.




Natural distribution: Central China.

Parts used: Stem and spines.

Nature: Sweet; slightly cold.

Affinity: Liver, pericardium.

Effects: Sedative to liver; antipyretic; antispasmodic in children’s nervous disorders.

Indications: Ailments of liver-yang ascending: pressure and pain in head, dizziness, blurry vision; body heat due to heat excess; convulsions and spasms in children; fainting and convulsions during the sixth, seventh and eighth month of pregnancy.

Dosage: 5-10 g.

Remarks: The drug dilates the capillaries and other blood vessels and is now used to lower blood pressure as well.



Natural distribution: Common mineral.

Nature: Bitter; cold.

Affinity: Liver, pericardium.

Effects: Sedative to liver; anti-emetic; hemostatic; tonic to blood; astringent.

Indications: Hiccups, burps, nausea and vomiting; nosebleeds; ringing in ear, dizziness headaches due to ascending liver-yang.

Dosage: 10-105 g.

Remarks: The drug has also been found effective in bronchial asthma.




Natural distribution: World-wide.

Nature: Salty; cold.

Affinity: Stomach, spleen, liver, kidneys.

Effects: Sedative to liver; antipyretic; clears the meridians; dilates bronchii; diuretic.

Indications: Nervous convulsions; pains of “wind-damp;” stroke paralysis; asthma; difficult urination; swelling.

Dosage: 5-10 g.

Remarks: Lowers blood pressure; relaxes and softens hard arteries and veins.




Natural distribution: World-wide.

Parts used: Whole insect.

Nature: Pungent; neutral.

Affinity: Liver.

Effects: Sedative to liver; tonic to nerves; antispasmodic; analgesic; antidote.

Indications: Spasms and nervous con- vulsions; tetanus infection; headache and other pains of “wind-damp,” abscesses and boils.

Dosage: Pure powder —0.05-0.1 g; brewed —1.5-3 g.

Remarks: Poisonous.




Natural distribution: World-wide.

Parts used: Whole insect.

Nature: Pungent; warm.

Affinity: Liver.

Effects: Sedative to liver; antispasmodic; antidote.

Indications: Traumatic shock; fright; tetanus infection; externally applied to pus-abscesses and serious infections.

Dosage: Pure powder—0.3-1 g; brewed —1-3 g.

Remarks: Poisonous; antidote in poisonous snake-bites; ingredient in cancer prescriptions; should be avoided by pregnant women; antidote for centipede bites is juice of fresh mulberry leaves with salt applied directly to wound.

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