The three most common varieties of ''sang piao xiao'' are:
*tuan piao xiao (round mantis egg case Their medicinal use might originate from their occasional occurrence on the mulberry plant ''Morus alba''. As its were necessary food for the caterpillars that make silk, much of the plant – including branches, fruits, leaves, and root bark – became revered in ancient China as source of herbal medicine. Says one source, "it would not be surprising that these egg cases, which appeared on some of the plants, were also collected and considered a valuable medicine." Another recommends sangpiaoxiao "To nourish the kidney, promote , arrest , and reduce urination." One source explains that ''sang piao xiao'' is for:
...insufficiency of kidney-yang with deficiency cold of the lower-jiao, spermatorrhea and cloudy urine, impotence and premature ejaculation, it is used with herbs for tonifying the kidney and supporting Yang, consolidating the kidney and preserving essence...
According to another practitioner of traditional medicine:
Although they have not been analyzed to determine their active constituents, a large portion of the egg case is comprised of protein, which would explain the frothy material that turns hard . It also contains a variety of unique constituents produced by the metabolism of the insect, such as aromatic compounds that deter ants, birds, and mice.
Royal jelly and silkworm droppings are other insect secretions used in traditional Chinese medicine.