Nature: acrid, bitter, neutral
Enters: Bladder, Liver, Stomach
Actions: Disperses wind-heat; eases eyes and headaches; drains dampness; expels wind; traditionally said to promote beard growth in men.
• Wind-heat: dizziness, headaches, migraines.
• Upper attack of wind-heat: blurry vision, red, painful, swollen eyes, lots of tears, spots in front of the eyes.
• Wind-dampness in the limbs/joints: stiffness, numbness, cramping, heaviness.
Jin: Particularly good for the pain of wind-damp Bi.
Li: Good for Shaoyang headaches behind the eyes.
HL: From Li Shi Zhen’s Ben Cao Gang Mu [provided by John Black]:
Main Uses: Treatment of heat and cold between tendons and bones, damp Bi type cramps, brightens the eyes, and strengthens the teeth. Regulates the nine orifices and expels “bai chong” (the Chinese character indicates some kind of worm, bug, parasite, etc.). Prolonged use of this herb can prevent aging. Can treat headache caused by wind, ringing in the head, lacrimation; benefits the Qi. It can enliven and brighten the spirit, and has been said to be able to expel pathogenic Qi and help the hair to grow. It has also been said to be able to free up the joints, treat epilepsy, red eyes, and Taiyang type headache. It can treat heaviness in the head (and implies some state bordering on unconsciousness), disperse pathogenic wind, cool menstrual blood, treat aching eyes, soothe liver wind, treat headache caused by wind, darken head hair and treats mastitis in the early stages. Through its effect on enhancing beard growth and the hormonal effects attributed to its Western cousin, I believe this herb is a tonic to the Chong Mai.
A final note though. It is contraindicated for those with deficient stomach Qi. The effect of Man Jing Zi in my experience is similar to He Shou Wu in that it can cause bloating, loose stools, sometimes explosive bowels with those people with a digestive insufficiency. Bai Zhu seems to counteract this well.
On the Western species: Vitex agnus-castus – Chaste berry:
It has not been clearly established as to whether the Chinese species shares all properties of the Western species.
NAH: For menstrual and menopausal disorders; probably an anaphrodisiac – lowers sex drive.
• Increases production of luteinizing hormone and prolactin; stimulates the flow of milk.
• Regulates menses when they are too frequent or too heavy.
• Seems to stimulate progesterone synthesis and regulate estrogen: for PMS and menopause.
• For fibroids and inflammation of the womb lining.
• Re-establishes normal ovulation and menses after discontinuance of the pill.
K&R: Sympatholytic, antispasmodic, estrogen antagonist, FSH inhibitor, luteotropic, galactagogue.
• Sweet-cooling; fire excess, wood excess.
• Fire: nervousness, genital excitation, dysmenorrhea, acne; anti-FSH; sympatholytic; stops excess bleeding, corrects a shortened menstrual cycle.
• Wood: neurotonia, globus hystericus, liver depression, palpitations, tachycardia, dysmenorrhea, uterine fibroids, hemorrhage, acne, genital excitation, mastosis and breast tenderness, male impotence from excessive sexual excitation, epigastric tightness, PMS, amenorrhea, menorrhagia, irregular menstrual cycle, menstrual and pre-menstrual edema, normalizes milk production (either too much or too little), cystic breasts-normalizes ratio of estrogen to progesterone; anti-FSH, sympatholytic.
RW: Increases LH production and inhibits release of FSH, leading to a shift in the ratio of estrogens to gestagens, in favor of gestagens, and hence a corpus luteum hormone effect.
• Menstrual disorders due to corpus luteum insufficiency (hyper or polymenorrhea and PMS based on hyperfolliculinism).
• Also for acne; pre-menstrual oral herpes; pre-menstrual water retention.
• Lactagogue (slow effect).