Nature: sweet, bland, slightly cold
Enters: Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Kidney
Actions: Drains dampness and harmful body fluid by promoting urination; expels wind-dampness, eliminates dampness from the channels; mildly tonifies spleen Qi, stops diarrhea; clears heat; drains pus; clears the eyes; expels phlegm, stops coughing.
• Retention of dampness and harmful body fluid, especially when due to spleen Qi deficiency: scanty urination, edema, diarrhea, damp leg qi.
• Damp-heat: any damp-heat disorder at any level characterized by a greasy tongue coating and digestive problems.
• Wind-damp: Bi syndrome with tendon spasms. Especially effective for increasing joint mobility and reducing spasms in chronic cases.
• Lung or large intestine heat: Lung abscess or appendicitis
• Soft, pustulated carbuncles.
• Lung phlegm-heat, cough.
• Can also be used for problems due to liver or kidney deficiency or liver channel heat.
• Despite its slightly cold nature, it does not hurt the stomach, and despite its sweet flavor, it does not block the Qi
• Weaker than Fu ling at tonifying the spleen. Milder at draining than Ze xie.
• Liu: Best herb for damp-heat with spleen Qi deficiency.
• For chronic spleen Qi deficiency with dampness, can be cooked into a porridge with rice, Da zao, Bai bian dou, etc.
• It is reported that Yi yi ren has an inhibitory effect on the growth of cancer cells.
• Should be cooked at least 30 minutes.
• Dry-fry to tonify the spleen.
• Note: although some sources refer to this herb as “pearl barley,” this is not barley and does not contain gluten.
Li: Good for generalized body aches due to damp accumulation.
MLT: Regulates fluid metabolism – drains dampness while it moistens the skin.
• Also for warts and fatty tumors, rheumatoid arthritis.
• Research shows anti-cancer properties.
Eric Brand: Yi Yi Ren, by its ability to clear damp-heat and expel pus, is also often used for acne and to generally enhance the treatment of skin conditions. For this purpose it can be liberally added to soups and congees. In Japanese Kampo, it is also added to Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan to make an empirical formula for stubborn cases of acne.