Can Sha (Faeces Bombycis or Silkworm Feces)

What Is Can Sha

Can Sha commonly known as Faeces Bombycis or Silkworm Feces is the larval feces of Bombyx mori, which is an insect belonging to the family Bombycidae. It is animal medicine, which first appeared in <Mingyi Bie Lu> around 420-589 AD.

Bombyx mori commonly known as the Silkworm moth is an important economic insect. It is the main producer of silk. This insect originated in China and was domesticated from primitive silkworms that inhabited mulberry trees in ancient times. They are widely distributed in temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions.

From June to August, people gather the larval feces of Bombyx mori during the second and third molting periods, dry them in the sun, remove the sand and mulberry leaf scraps, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Bombyx mori

It contains chlorophyll, carotene, phytol, β-sitosterol, cholesterol, ergosterol, xylose, arabinose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, alkaloids, flavonoids, amino acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, and some trace elements.

Generally, the black Can Sha with short cylindrical small particles and a grassy smell is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal nature of Can Sha is relatively warm, with a sweet and pungent taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver, spleen, and stomach meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to expel wind and dampness, regulate the stomach and resolve dampness, and treat rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, numbness of the limbs, disadvantageous flexion and extension of joints, cold pain in the waist and knee joints, traumatic injury, migraine, intractable headaches, rubella, acute urticaria, marginal blepharitis, cholera, facial paralysis, oral ulcers, senile insomnia, leukopenia, iron deficiency anemia, uterine bleeding, and hyperostosis.

There are about 50 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Xuan Bi Tang, Can Sha Yin, and Jing Tang Ning Capsules.


  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging superoxide anion free radicals and hydroxyl free radicals.
  • Shortening pentobarbitone-induced sleep onset latency and prolonging sleep time in mice.
  • Inhibiting α-glucosidase activity and reducing blood glucose levels in alloxan rats and sucrose rats.
  • Regulating the levels of hematopoietic regulators IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-6, improving hematopoietic function, and treating iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Inhibiting the proliferation of melanoma B16F10 cells and inducing mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in leukemia cells.
  • Expelling wind and eliminating dampness, treating rheumatic arthralgia, and paralysis of limbs.
  • Regulating the stomach and resolving dampness, and treating abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps caused by turbid damp retention in middle-jiao.
  • Expelling wind and dampness, relieving itching caused by rubella and eczema.
  • Its extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus uberis, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella.
  • Studies have found that its water extract can significantly increase the bodyweight of mice and reduce the number of autonomous activities of mice.


Side Effects

  • At present, there are no reports in the literature that Can Sha has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Can Sha should be controlled at 5-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, lotions, medicinal liquors, or applied externally after being heated.
  • When making a decoction of Can Sha, you should wrap it in gauze.
  • People who are allergic to Can Sha should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take it under the guidance of a doctor.