Black-tail Snake

Source Black Strip Snake is the dried body of Zaocysdhumnades (Cantor) (Fam. Colubridae)

Producing Areas East, South and West China; Hubei, Hunan, Shanxi and Hebei, etc.

Properties Sweet, Salty, Neutral

Channels Liver


  • Treats Bi syndrome of wind–dampness, with numbness and weakness in the limbs
    Often used in combination with jackinthepulpit (tiannanxing), scorpion (quanxie), giant typhonium rhizome (baifuzi), incised notopterygium rhizome and root (qianghua), ephedra (mahuang) etc, as in the wushe pill.
  • Arrests tetanus, with stiffness in the neck and body
    May be used with baihuashe, centipede (wugong) in powder applied with warm wine.
  • Arrests leprosy
  • Relieves skin irritation caused by dryness
  • Dispels wind, opens the Channels, stops convulsions
    For convulsions, Bi syndrome, and post-stroke deviation of the face, muscle paralysis and hemiplegia.

Usage and Dosage
9–12 g is used in decoction for oral use, or 2–3 g in powdered form.
May also be soaked in spirit; or baked and ground to make powder or pills.
The burned ash is used externally.

Keep in earthenware with lime and preserve below 30°C. Or keep it with Chinese prickly ash.

Use with caution for person with blood deficieny and wind syndrome.

Description of Quality Herb

The good one is dry, firm and compact, with the head and tail intact, and has black skin and yellowish white flesh.

Professional Tips
The common fakes are snakes with black scales or black-smoked scales. The number of their scale rows is odd.

Identifying Qishe (Agkistrodon) and Wushaoshe

Differences: Qishe is warm, dry in nature, toxic and highly potent. It is prescribed for obstinate Bi syndrome of wind-dampness type. Wushaoshe is neutral in nature and non-toxic.