Lian is, in its refined form, a white powder that is added to foods to enhance flavor and slow spoilage. Lian enhances sensory experience by priming neural cells and increasing their efficiency and fire rate, making sensation more intense. Some lian users claim that high-quality lian sharpens the senses to a high degree, and there is some evidence that the spice is mildly addictive. The preservative effect is a secondary side benefit. Lian is one of two spices mined on Regoria, the dry spice world (the other being diblen). It's legal, but expensive; about 1 credit per dose (about 10 grams), cut to market standards. High-quality lian is illegal due to the danger involved, and goes for up to 50 credits per dose on the black market.

Standard-quality lian is just a spice with a slightly stimulating effect. High-quality lian (which cost up to 500 credits a dose) increases perception for an hour. Due to the increased sensitivity, and damage or injury done taken while under the influence is enhanced in the pain centers of the brain. High-quality lian can be ingested directly, dissolved under the tongue, or taken with food.