Du Zhong – Eucommia bark

Nature: sweet, warm

Enters: Liver, Kidney

Actions: Tonifies the kidneys and liver, strengthens tendons and bones; holds and calms the fetus; promotes smooth circulation of Qi and blood.

• Kidney and liver deficiency: weak, sore lumbar region and knees, Wei syndrome, fatigue, frequent urination.
• Kidney and liver deficiency: threatened or habitual miscarriage, restless fetus; cold deficient kidney patterns with bleeding during pregnancy.
• Liver/kidney Yang deficiency cold: impotence, frequent urination.
• Lowers blood pressure: for hypertension, dizziness, lightheadedness from liver Yang rising.
• Compared to Xu duan, Du zhong is more effective when the problem is due primarily to deficiency, while Xu duan is used more to treat lower back pain with significant aspects of both wind-damp and kidney deficiency.
• Fry in salt water to increase kidney-tonification properties.
Hong-Yen Hsu (Oriental Materia Medica): Hypotensive – the fried herb is more potent, and the decoction is better than the tincture.
• Analgesic.
• Can decrease absorption of cholesterol.
Dui Yao (Sionneau & Flaws): Secures the Chong Mai.
• The major herb to treat lumbar pain. Can be used for all types – excess or deficiency, hot or cold – when combined appropriately with other herbs.
• With Xu duan for mutual reinforcement, to supplement the liver and kidneys, strengthen the sinews and bones, stop metrorraghia during pregnancy, and quiet the fetus. For indication such as:
– 1. Aches and pains, stiffness, lumbar pain, and weakness of the lower limbs due to kidney-liver deficiency. (Du Zhong Wan) Salt mix-fry both herbs.
– 2. Knee and lumbar pain due to wind-dampness.
– 3. Metrorrhagia during pregnancy and threatened miscarriage accompanied by lumbar pains due to kidney deficiency. (Salt mix-fry both herbs.)
– 4. Traumatic lumbar pain. (Qian Jin Bao Yun Dan) Use salt mix-fried Du zhong and wine mix-fried Xu duan.
Du zhong is more powerful than Xu duan at supplementing the liver and kidneys, strengthening the sinews, bones, and lumbar area. But Xu duan promotes circulation within the vessels, dispels blood stasis, and knits together fractured bones and torn ligaments.

Dose: 6-15g

8 comments on “Du Zhong – Eucommia bark

  1. Daniel B says:

    I found your website looking up teasel root/xu duan. I also see that du zhong may be helpful. I have some tendonitis in several joints, laxity, and lumbar pain. I also hold a lot of tension in the upper t-spine. I just for teasel root tincture today and also use solomon’s seal and mullein root. Do you have any other suggestions for these issues? Thank you for any information.

    • Peter Borten says:

      I tend to think in terms of a diagnosis, usually a TCM diagnosis, because it leads to more effective herbs. For instance, if the problem is due to blood deficiency, we could use herbs that build blood without even needing those herbs to have a specific association with ligaments, and the underlying pattern should get corrected and with it the symptoms you describe.

      So, since I don’t know the diagnosis – maybe liver blood deficiency, kidney yang deficiency, liver and kidney yin deficiency, wind-dampness, blood stasis, spleen deficiency, etc. – I can only guess at herbs with an affinity for those areas and tissues. And the first things that come to mind are the ones you already mentioned and bai shao, ge gen, sang ji sheng, wu jia pi, ge gen, ba ji tian, niu xi, ru xiang, fang feng, du huo, ji xue teng, gou ji, etc.

  2. D vernon says:

    To encourage others: I have used eucommia & teasel separately and together in all cases to very good result.

    I’m in my 60s and used to lots of physical work, lifting etc for livelihood etc and it is hard to see one’s strength diminish. I was resigned last year to stopping the regular hoisting of heavy water containers uphill and curtailing some wood felling etc, when I remembered eucommia.

    Ordered some of good quality from Toronto supplier, and back weakness went completely away. I like the flavour, too. I wonder if I should take it not only when I feel a twinge but preventively.

    As for teasel, this I was introduced to when recovering 20 years ago from a big
    “electrosmog”-induced illness (everyone in one way or another in this era!), then remembered it when I was tick-bitten with Lyme 10 years ago. Bone pain gone almost straightaway.

    These two herbs are now good friends I always try to have around. Unlike many it seems I also find teasel tasty. (I seem to do better with boiled herbs rather than alcoholic tinctures, although the reverse would be indicated for those of other “types”. Comment?)

    • imbuebod says:

      Yes, as mentioned in the quote from Dui Yao (“combining medicines”) above, and evidenced in many formulas, du zhong and xu duan are often combined for yang deficiency with stiff, achy, weak muscles & joints.
      And yes, when treating holistically, we wouldn’t wait until the pain flares up and use the herb for fast relief – they work best taken over time to change the underlying condition of weakness. Although these two herbs actually CAN work pretty fast for pain, I tend to bring in blood movers, qi movers, and herbs that expel wind-dampness, as appropriate, for pain.

      • Goredyn says:

        Thank you for your comment, imbuebod and D vernon! Imbuebod: your last sentence “bring in blood movers.. for pain”, like what items? Thank you!

        • Peter Borten says:

          For instance, Ji Xue Teng, Lu Lu Tong, Huai Niu Xi, Chuan Niu Xi. Though really, most herbs that that category could be helpful … Hong Hua, To Ren, Chuan Xiong, Dan Shen, Ru Xiang…

  3. D vernon says:

    Comment appreciated. I was unclear tho’, asking for a word on alcoholic or other tincture vs boiled/infused.

    (As a matter of fact, this a.m. I had a wrist pain flare up – happens opportunistically I figure when dragged down by something else, had minor feverish indication yesterday – on the arm I was Lyme tick bitten 10 yr ago and last yr – my booster – a few oz of concentrated teasel boildown and pain abated again, am I ever thankful.)

    • Peter Borten says:

      Wow, I’m impressed that it worked so well like that. And, yes, it’s 2 years later and I’m just seeing this now. Sometimes WordPress alerts me when I have a comment to approve and other times it just approves it without telling me (probably because you already had an approved comment on this page).
      As for alcohol vs water extracts, since we think in TCM of alcohol as generally enhancing “moving” effects of an herb, certain herbs are either alcohol-treated (often wine-fried) or alcohol extracted if we want to enhance those qualities. Also to make something more warming, to preserve, and promote faster absorption. That said, the classical indications of these herbs are generally based on the history of their use, which was mostly directly as powder or extracted in water (infusion/decoction), and there isn’t for most herbs much of a record of what properties they have when extracted in alcohol. Since certain compounds are more soluble in alcohol then water, it might change the effects significantly. Or, as you know, in the case of certain herbs and mushrooms, too high of an alcohol concentration could cause polysaccharides to precipitate out of solution.

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