Xi Gua Shuang – compound watermelon frost to treat mouth ulcers (yikes!), yeay!

Years ago when I had a terrible case of mouth ulcers, my mother got me a traditional Chinese medicine called Xi Gua Shuang (direct translation: watermelon frost). It comes in a powdery form, smells like any powdery traditional Chinese medicine and most importantly, made my mouth ulcers better. Since then I’d always thought of the watermelon frost as a miracle cure for those annoying mouth ulcers.

I got a massive one yesterday so I went to the nearest Chinese medicine shop and got me a couple of…

Compound Watermelon frost package

Almost miraculous, I tell you. At the very least, it stopped the pain that comes with the sores then accelerate the healing process. As I applied more of the wonder powder to my ulcer, I suddenly thought of the following questions:

1. What the heck is watermelon frost??
2. What is this medicine exactly, and how does the science of the remedy work?

The information at the back of the package says, “Traditionally used for relief of sore throat, toothaches, minor burns and cuts”. Of the 7 listed ingredients, the only ones I understood were ‘watermelon frost’ and ‘menthol’.

Compound watermelon frost powder

In the 17th century during the Qing Dynasty, a famous doctor named Gu Shicheng recorded ‘Sanjin Watermelon Extract’ in his “Complete Works for Treatment of Sores”. Apparently here’s how you obtain watermelon frost: remove a watermelon of its content then pack it with salt. Put it in a bowl, seal well and after a few days, a ‘frost’ appears on the skin. That’s the active ingredient in the compound medicine.

Sounds like a lot of hard work so I’m glad that it’s easily obtainable at most traditional Chinese medicine stores. Inexpensive too; I bought the above for RM1.40 (USD 0.50). There is a spray version which I didn’t get, for reasons I don’t know why. Duh.

Watermelon frost applied on Suanie

According to this website, compound watermelon frost is listed as ‘Medicine for the Diseases of Five Sense Organs’. Hmmm…

Anyway it’s recommended as traditional herbal remedy for mouth ulcers (sores), open wounds, sore throats, gum infections, toothaches… you get the idea.

I just thought I’d share ‘cos you wouldn’t know this if you didn’t grow up in a Chinese family/environment. Well, now you do! Go stock up now! ๐Ÿ˜€



  1. Tan Yee Hou says:

    Ehh ehhh heard unconfirmed rumours that these things contain mercury (but then again, all Chinese products ALWAYS contain mercury hurh?) so I don’t really dare use.

  2. must be the shark’s fin karma effect!

  3. the spray version is totally awesome, especially if the ulcer’s deep within

  4. Interesting stuff! I use Bonjela, and make sure to have one with me at all times after having to go with a disgusting alternative while in the Middle East – tube of goo, place in mouth, wait 5 minutes without moving with goo in mouth …. never again.

  5. KY: yeah i don’t know why i asked for non-spray form, even after the girl asked me if i wanted the spray version!

    shua: i’ve heard that Bonjela should not be administered to children! u should try some of this xi gua shuang too , just to compare then let me know ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. My preferred med to cure ulcer. Bonjela doesnt really work for me :s

  7. this is my most trusted medication when it comes to mouth ulcer. When I travel, I will take this along.

  8. xes: bonjela is gel, right? okay i think i’ll just stick to this one ๐Ÿ˜€

    zewt: i think the spray version is a lot more convenient! gonna stock up

  9. Aaaah I totally remember those! When I was little my mom had some sprays she brought from Taiwan to America and used them on me when I had an ulcer. I remember I always hated it because I thought it tasted gross.

  10. yeah spray 1 better. n i only use once. it works.

  11. American Girl: Actually I think it tastes like ALL traditional Chinese powders. They have powders for all sorts of ailments, and they all taste the same! Not too bad as you grow older though! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Myhorng: Yes I should go get the spray one! Just in case… but i needed to apply a couple of times cos it was really a bad case of ulcer

  12. i hated this ulcer remedy ’cause my late grandmother used to administer it every time i got an ulcer. hated the smell and taste!

    ironically, an aussie friend of mine swears by this to get rid of ulcers. got it from a chinese friend of his, and has always kept one in reach since then.

    after hearing him wax lyrical about its effectiveness i bought myself a bottle (in the spray form). however i’ve yet to find any occasion to test it out haha.

  13. omfg this thing is magic!!!

  14. I’ve had mouth sores since I was a teenager and tried oral washes and salty water and mouth washes. None worked. My wife’s mom gave this to me and my sores recovered very quickly. I always forget about it when I need it. It’s definitely more effective if you use it early before the sore gets worse.

  15. Im a filipino and my husband’s chinese-malaysian. I always get this mouth ulcer since i have braces on my teeth. This is the best remedy for mouth ulcers. All those gels and stuffs i bought from drugstores are useless. But this chinese powder medicine quickly heals my mouth ulcer. I just used last night and now i woke up pain free!:)

  16. Interesting to find out how they create watermelon frost. I thought it was just watermelon rind mixed with camphor haha! Got a watermelon frost tea from my local Asian grocery & it is a fabulous decongestant. I highly recommend it in tea form for when you are feeling under the weather.
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  17. Yes I remember this age old remedy. My mom calls it Xi Gua Fen for some reason when she used to buy it from the Chinese Medical Hall near my place ages ago. Bonjela is ok to numb the area when u eat but doesn’t work as well in terms of healing. This gets rid of the ulcers pretty quick. I apply it before bed and when I wake up my ulcers don’t hurt as bad and the lesions seem to be a lot shallower (I.e. signs of healing). Definitely a must have in every medicine cabinet!

  18. Silly Willy says:

    I work in Boston and recently got a canker sore on my tongue.
    Hurt really bad. Seen a blog that said over and over to get watermelon frost. Walked into a Boston Chinese herb store and talked to the counter man. He pointed me to the Watermelon Frost and I got it. Wow crazy, it works and I went back to buy another. I got the spray power.

  19. Little Miss Mymi says:

    Last week I got not just one but TWO huge ulcer. Super painful! I couldn’t eat at all because of them. My boyfriend recommended me to use this since he and his family use this to treat ulcer and mouth sore. At first I hesitate because he said it has unpleasant taste. But then I decided to just give it a go. Turns out it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Applied it 3 times already and my ulcers don’t hurt as bad and seem to heal. I recommend this for those who are looking to treat ulcer and mouth sore. It works wonders!

    • yes, i use it often, and it works on me. BUT not sure what’s the side effect for long term use… some side contain mercury or lead….hmmmm, this is bad !

  20. I’ve used this stuff and it really works. I think it’s fairly obvious (?) that we are talking about mould.. c’mon, “frost” growing on a dead fruit? It even tastes a bit mouldy. And mould has antibacterial properties.

    Interestingly, if the history is correct, it predates the “discovery” of penicillin by a few hundred years, even if it was never developed scientifically.

  21. This stuff is miraculous! As a life-long sufferer of inappropriately timed mouth ulcers/cold sores, I was willing to try anything! I was working near Shanghai when I first came across Watermelon Frost. I did a pointing mime explanation of my problem (I had only been in China two weeks and knew very little mandarin), and the pharmacist gave me the package and mimed how to use it. Been with at least one bottle ever since; I am more likely to forget my keys than my Xi Gua Shuang.
    I am very disappointed to hear about the mercury, and I hope it isn’t true, but I found this website
    on how to make your own. Haven’t tried it yet, but will in the future.

  22. I love it, bought it by accident at a chinese med shop when Bonjela didnt work! Its awesome!!! But in Singapore, its not as cheap like it is in Msia! “(

  23. I just got msome sent from China to the UK. I almost always have ulcers. Even when the ulcer goes down, the pain is still there somehow. Anyway, I have been using Silver Nitrate sticks, which work but quite painful and only temporary. Well so far I have to say Im very impressed with the frost – instant relief, not a bad taste to be honest, and things seem to be healing ok so far. The ‘spray’ is not really much of a spray – its a tube with a nozzle that you squeeze. So its hard to control how much you use in one application. Its all very cheap though!

    • I personally prefer the non-‘spray’, like you said it’s hard to adjust the amount whereas with the other type where you have to dab the powder, gives you better control.

      Though if you have a sore throat, the spray applicator helps to reach the throat.

  24. My family use it for years. Very efficient. If it would contain mercury, it would not pass the health ministry

  25. Anyone know the exact and all ingredients in this?

  26. Chong Tat da eggtart says:

    Xi Gua Shuang/ Compound Prescribed Watermelon Frost states that it contains Rhizoma Belamcandae (0.1g) , Bulbus Fritillariac Cirrhosae (0.2g) , Radix Sophorae Tokinensis (0.1g) , Watermelon Frost (1.2g) , Radix Glycyrrhizae (0.29g) , Menthol (0.01g) and Indigo Naturalis (0.1g) . And by the way, I bought it at a KK store for RM2.50 .

  27. Suat Neo says:

    My colleague warned me not to use watermelon frost as it contains borax 120 mg which is used as a poison or as an active ingredient in cleaning mix. So is it harmful to the body? It is very effective in healing my mouth ulcer.

  28. chaicabral says:

    I tried the watermelon frost which was prescribed by my eent and it worked so well on my swollen pharynx. It was a couple of days I couldn’t eat. Right after I gargled with water, it was magic!
    I was able to eat and drink easily. I bought if from my eent’s clinic so it was a bit expensive. But no sweat. The works mattered.
    Would always want to stock one in my medicine drawer.

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