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Special Effects of Buffalo Horn and Jade Gua sha Tools

A gua sha tool is the main utensil used in gua sha, and is usually made of buffalo horn or jade. In Chinese herbal medicine, buffalo horn has a cold property and an acrid, salty flavor. Acridity is used to disperse and promote the circulation of qi and blood, as well as moistening and nourishing. The salty flavor softens hardness and relaxes stiffness. Coldness clears heat and removes toxins. Therefore, gua sha tools made from buffalo horn are able to disperse and propel qi, clear heat, resolve toxins, and promote blood circulation to eliminate blood stasis.

Jade has a neutral property, is sweet in flavor, and enters the lung meridian. It moistens yin, clears heat, nourishes the spirit, calms the mind and strengthens the body.

Neither type of gua sha tool has any toxicity or causes any side effects.

Guasha Basics

Should gua sha tools be sterilized?

If your gua sha tool is made from buffalo horn or jade, it should be sterilized using high temperature methods. After scraping, wash it with soap and water, wait for it to dry, and then wipe it with alcohol Ideally, one tool is used on one person. Gua sha tools made of buffalo horn should not be stored in places that are extremely damp or dry, or left soaking in water, as these environments will cause cracks to appear and the tool will become unusable. After scraping, the tool should be dried immediately after being washed. It is best to store it in a plastic bag or leather sheath. When storing jade tools, avoid knocking them against each other.

Can other liquids be used instead of special gua sha oil?

If no special gua sha oil is available, water, wine or sesame oil can be used instead. Safflower oil should not be used because it contains capsaicin, which stimulates the skin. Repeatedly using safflower oil will turn the skin rough, or cause allergic reactions or black spots. For long-term use, it is best to use specific gua sha oils for their efficacy and safety.