Hua Shi (Talc or Talcum)

What Is Hua Shi

Hua Shi is also known as Talc or Talcum and is a hydrous silicate mineral. It is a commonly used mineral medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

This ore is widely distributed, with the main sources being China, Brazil, India, the United States, France, Finland, Italy, Russia, Canada, and Austria.

It is the softest known mineral and is used in a variety of industries such as paper, plastics, coatings, rubber, food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. It is also a common ingredient in baby powder.

In any season, people can mine talcum. People mine talcum, remove silt and impurities, wash them with water, smash them into small pieces, crush them into fine powders, or add water to grind them, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

The main component of talc is hydrous magnesium silicate (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2), of which the content of Mg3Si4O10(OH)2 is not less than 88%. In addition, it contains compounds such as alumina and nickel oxide.

Generally, the white, soft, and waxy luster Hua Shi is preferred. The good quality Hua Shi feels lubricious when touched by hand.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Hua Shi is relatively cold, with a sweet and bland taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the bladder, lung, and stomach meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to induce diuresis and relieve stranguria, clear summer heat, astringe dampness and sores, and treat stranguria, urolithiasis, dysuria, scanty dark urine, polydipsia, watery diarrhea, eczema, prickly heat, glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, acute cystitis, urethritis, urinary calculi, hydrothorax, chylothorax, and pneumothorax.

There are about 150 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Ba Zheng San, Huang Lian Jie Du Wan, and San Ren Tang.


  • Inducing diuresis and treating dysuria, heat stranguria, ischuria, and urolithiasis caused by damp-heat in the lower jiao.
  • Clearing summer heat, and treating polydipsia and scanty dark urine caused by summer heat.
  • Treating headache, aversion to cold, heaviness sensation of body and limbs, chest tightness, thready and soggy pulse caused by damp-warm diseases in the early stage, or warm diseases mingled with dampness in summer.
  • Clearing heat and treating watery diarrhea and dysuria caused by damp-heat or summer-heat and damp.
  • Astringing dampness and sores, promoting scab formation, treating eczema and prickly heat.
  • It has a certain inhibitory effect on typhoid bacillus and paratyphoid bacillus type A in vitro.


Side Effects

It has been reported to cause granulomas in the lungs and wounds [1].

Some studies have shown that workers involved in talc mining and processing have higher rates of lung cancer. But it is not certain whether this is because of the talc or because of other substances that cause lung cancer.

Some studies suggest a possible association between the use of powders containing talc in the genital area and the incidence of ovarian cancer. However, these studies have not conclusively demonstrated such a link, or if such a link existed, what risk factors might be involved [2].

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Hua Shi should be controlled at 10-20g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, powders, or ground for external use.
  • When making its decoction, it is recommended to boil it first and decoct it for a long time.
  • When making a decoction of Hua Shi, you should wrap it in gauze.
  • People who are allergic to Hua Shi should not take it.
  • Patients with spleen deficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with consumption of body fluids in febrile diseases should not take it.
  • Patients with spermatorrhea due to kidney deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.
  • Breastfeeding women should take it under medical supervision.