For thousands of years, pearls have been highly sought after for their iridescent beauty and splendor; but few know that they also possess powerful healing and health-boosting properties that create the mirror image of their radiance within the body. While most think of them as jewelry or gemstones, they can also be ground into a fine powder for internal use—a secret long known to the Daoists of ancient China, who prized them for a different reason than their typical ornamental use.
Ancient Health Secret
In nearly every ancient civilization, the benefits of pearl powder were well known. Their use in China of both as a medicine and as a cosmetic, dates back at least to 320 AD where it was sought by emperors and empresses alike. As proclaimed in the medical books of the Ming dynasty, it was used to stimulate new skin growth and healing, release toxins, and remove sun damage and age spots. In India, the powder was also used in Ayurvedic medicine where it was known to increase general strength and health and was frequently an ingredient of love potions. In medieval Europe, the powder was widely perceived to have therapeutic qualities as well. Seventeenth-century German and English works claimed its effectiveness in a wide range of physical and mental conditions, and famed scientist and philosopher Francis Bacon recommended it as a means of prolonging life.
Moving into the 21st century, a slew of researchers from universities around the world have picked up where ancient cultures have left off, putting pearl powder to the test in a number of human and animal studies—and what they have found is not only impressive but proves that it more than lives up to the hype.
The Health Benefits of Pearl Powder
In both human and animal studies, pearl powder has shown promising results in either directly increasing lifespan or stimulating the production of various antioxidants and biochemicals that have a connection to increased longevity and overall health and wellness.
In various studies, fortifying the diets of silkworms, mice, nematodes, and fruit flies with pearl powder significantly increased lifespan, in some cases up to 50% or more. The way it works in animals and humans is complex, and its life-extending properties are believed to be a result of its ability to boost antioxidant levels—in particular, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione—two of the most potent antioxidants in the body. Both of these antioxidants have strong connections to longevity, especially SOD which has been shown to help reverse many diseases, aid DNA protection and repair, and extend lifespan in a number of studies. It also inhibits the MAO-B enzyme, which correlates to measurable life-extending and health-enhancing effects. [1-9]
Various components of the powder also affect DNA and RNA metabolic activities, and thus can support cell renewal and regrowth. More studies are needed, but early human clinical trials show very positive and promising results across the board.
2. Skin Health and Bone Regeneration
Scientists studying the health benefits of pearl powder have found that a special substance it contains—called nacre—is able to cause the regeneration of fibroblasts and osteoblasts, which are essential to the formation of new skin, collagen, and bone tissue. Fibroblasts are “builder stem cells” that abound in the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, skin, and organs. By enhancing fibroblasts regeneration, pearl nacre in fact can help keep your body in shape and make your muscles and organs strong. Fibroblasts stimulate rapid wound healing and the formation of new skin and collagen cells, which restores a youthful glow to skin, reduces wrinkles, sun damage, and other signs of aging, and causes skin tightening, which reduces sagging and increases suppleness.
Osteoblasts are stem cells responsible for new bone formation and regrowth. In 1992, Museum D’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France studied the osteogenic properties of nacre, which is the exact material that comprises pearl.  During the study, nacre chips were placed on a layer of human osteoblasts. They found that the osteoblasts that were near the nacre chips proliferated, and then attached themselves to the chips. Even more amazing, the osteoblasts formed a complete sequence of new bone in the presence of the nacre. How do we know it was the nacre that caused this? Because only the osteoblasts surrounding the nacre chips induced this type of mineralization. [11-13]
In 2003, the same group of French scientists decided to investigate pearl fillings. They placed pieces of nacre in experimental cavities in the lumbar vertebrae of sheep. They found that the insertion of this nacre induced the production of layers of newly formed bone adjacent to the implanted pearl nacre filling. They also discovered that inserting the nacre caused an increased mineralization of the sheep’s bone, which means that the bone surrounding the cavity actually became stronger.
Another one of pearl powders benefits is that it is one of the richest sources of calcium on the planet—up to 80% or more by weight. Not only that, but human and animal studies comparing the bioavailability of pearl to that of other calcium supplements in a human clinical trial show that pearl powder is absorbed twice as efficiently as conventional calcium carbonate supplements (by far the most common form of calcium in dietary supplements). Scientific tests reveal that the calcium and naturally occurring essential trace minerals in pearl have a natural highly aligned micro-crystalline structure that is highly biocompatible with the human body and that helps to stimulate new bone growth, increase mineralization, and increase overall bone density. [10-15]
3. Calming and Relaxing
Perhaps one of the most well-known and sought-after health benefits of pearl powder is for its calming and relaxing properties. It has been used to relieve stress, soothe the nervous system, improve mood, and promote deeper sleep for millennia—and scientists may have discovered why. Aside from the generally calming effects that calcium has in the body, it has been shown to elevate GABA levels in the brain and body. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter that is often deficient in people with anxiety and chronic stress. Researchers also found that pearl powder benefits and stimulates various receptors in the body related to serotonin production in both animals and humans