Nature: bitter, acrid, very cold
Enters: Lung, Bladder
Actions: Strongly promotes urination, moves water, relieves edema; resolves phlegm; clears heat; descends Lung Qi; calms wheezing.
• Lung phlegm accumulation or Lung heat: cough with copious sputum, difficulty breathing, gurgling sound in the throat.
• Lungs fail to dominate the water passages or excess-type obstruction of Lung and bladder Qi: facial edema, fluid accumulation in the chest or abdomen, urinary difficulty.
• For hydrothorax, combine with Xing ren and Mang xiao.
• Large doses have produced a cardiotonic effect in various animals (positive ionotropic effect and negative chronotropic effect – increases cardiac output and reduces venous pressure).
• Liu: Not for deficiency. Its purgative function is as strong as rhubarb – can damage the Qi.
Hsu: Purgative; expectorant, alleviates pharyngitis, facilitates removal of phlegm from throat.
DY: With Da zao to powerfully drain the Lungs, disinhibit urination, and drastically evacuate phlegm without damaging Yin or the stomach. Together, they downbear Qi and calm asthma. For indications such as asthma, cough with stertor, wheezing, a swollen face, and oliguria due to accumulation of phlegm in the Lungs. (Ting Li Da Zao Xie Fei Tang)
• There are two types of Ting li zi:
– Tian ting li is sweet and comes from the south. Its draining and dispersing properties are moderate. It drains the Lungs and expels phlegm without damaging the stomach.
– Ku ting li is bitter and comes from the north. This is the most currently prescribed in clinical practice and the most effective. Its draining action is strong. It strongly drains the Lungs and expels phlegm and can damage the stomach. In order to slow down the drastic action of this herb, it can be stir-fried until scorched. Also, its combination with Da zao is essential.