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Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)

Close up of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)

What is Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)?

Tortoise Carapace and Plastron (gui jia/gui ban, 龟甲/龟板), also known as Carapax et Plastrum Testudinis, refers to the back shell and plastron of Chinemys reevesii, a tortoise that falls under the Testudinidae family. 

In China, these tortoises are mainly found in provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan. These tortoises are captured all year round and shelled to produce Gui Jia for medicinal purposes.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) falls under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency’. Such herbs are used for patterns of deficiency to replenish one’s ‘Four Treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). Cool in nature, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can help individuals with too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a harmonious balance.

Salty and sweet in taste, Gui Jia has a draining effect on the body by clearing accumulations, removing phlegm and softening hard lumps. Also, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) targets the Heart, the Kidneys and the Liver.

Functions and Benefits of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) has the following health benefits.

Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can nourish yin in the Liver and Kidneys while subduing rising yang in the Liver, and is thus indicated for Yin Deficiency with Yang Hyperactivity, Endogenous Wind, and Yin Deficiency with Internal Heat due to Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency. For example, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can treat dizziness, blurred vision, blood-shot eyes, impatience and bad temper. Other related symptoms that Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can relieve include tidal fever, night sweat and spermatorrhea.

Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can strengthen tendons and bones, and is indicated for malnutrition of tendons and bones, atrophy, limpness of lumbar and knees, and lack of strength when walking. Also, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can strengthen thoroughfare and conception vessels and stop bleeding. This herb is indicated for symptoms such as metrorrhagia, metrostaxis, irregular menstrual bleeding and insecurity of thoroughfare and conception vessels.

As Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) can tonify the Heart to induce tranquilization, Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) is also used for symptoms like palpitation, insomnia, forgetfulness, anxiety and amnesia caused by Yin-Blood Deficiency, as well as malnourishment of the Heart. In addition, applying this herb topically helps to treat non-healing sores and ulcerations.

Close up of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)
Keep having regular late nights? Do include Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) in your regime.

How to Use Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)

The recommended daily dosage of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) is 10 – 15g, when used as a decoction. To make a decoction from raw Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban), the shell needs to be crushed first.

Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) comes with a smell that resembles the smell of fish, if you want to get rid of the smell, you can stir-bake it with gravel sand and dip it into vinegar. 

Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) may be found in certain herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban)

Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) should not be used by individuals experiencing pregnancy, Excess Cold and Dampness in the Spleen, or diarrhoea caused by Damp-Cold or Yang Deficiency.

Do note that medicinal usage of Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) has been associated with allergic reactions such as symptoms of chest oppression, hot sensations over the entire body and mild pruritus.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban) to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Tortoise Plastron (Gui Ban):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 龟甲 / 龟板
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): guī jiǎ / guī bǎn
  • Herb name (English): Tortoise Carapace and Plastron
  • Herb name (Botanical): Carapax et Plastrum Testudinis
  • Origin of species: Chinemys reevesii (Gray)
  • Part(s) of herb used: Carapace & Plastron
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Zhejiang, Hubei, Hunan
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Salty, Sweet; Cold; Administrates the Kidney, Liver and Heart Meridians
  • Actions: Suitable for people who keep regular late nights; Helps to improve ability to sleep for individuals who suffer from insomnia; Eases symptoms of forgetfulness; Helps to improve kidney and liver functions in children to aid in developmental deficiencies

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