Amber, Pinites succinifer (Hu Bo)

Amber is also known as: Hu Buo (Hu Bo)

OTHER NAME: "tiger's soul"

The Chinese name meaning tiger's soul is based on the old legend that when a tiger dies, its spirit enters the earth and is transformed into this substance. It is said to be the resin of an extinct species of pine that has "lain in the earth for a thousand years." Ancient Greek and Chinese, as well as modern observers, all agree on this point. Pieces containing the preserved bodies of ants, bees, and other insects are particularly valued, and the finest specimens are often fashioned into ornaments for the wealthy. It ranges in color from a milky yellow to a dark, transparent golden brown. Amber should always be purchased from reliable sources, because imposters made from colophony and copal are often sold as the real thing and are difficult for the untrained eye to dis- tinguish.

Major sources of amber include India, Africa, Burma, Yunnan and other areas of southern China, and Korea.

MEDICINAL PART: petrified resin

Energy: neutral
Flavor: sweet
Affinity: kidneys

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS: alterative; tonic; diuretic; sedative; nervine; dissolves clots in bloodstream; helps eliminate cataracts (TCM: sedates kidney-energy and cools excess fire in bladder)

INDICATIONS: blood in urine; dark cloudy urine; scant urination; amenorrhea; nocturnal emission; nervous convulsive disorders; hysteria; cataracts (TCM: internal heat in kidney and bladder)

DOSAGE: powder (plain, capsules, infusion, or honey pills): 0.9-2 grams



REMARKS: Throughout the ancient Asian world, amber was considered to contain special supernatural powers and healing energies that protected those who wore it on their bodies. It remains a very popular material for making matas, the bead rosaries used throughout Asia for meditation and mantra practice. The mystical lore associated with the herb inevitably became entangled with its reputed medicinal properties, but all magic and mysticism aside, amber possesses therapeutic properties, particularly for disorders of the nervous system.

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