Nature: bitter, acrid, neutral
Actions: Disperses Lung Qi; eliminates phlegm; drains pus; benefits the throat; guides herbs upward.
• Cough with copious sputum or less, difficult-to-expectorate sputum, chest congestion, hoarse voice, sore throat. Combined appropriately, it can be used for both wind-cold and wind-heat coughs.
• Sore throat, loss of voice – especially when due to external heat, but also when due to other factors, such as phlegm-heat or Yin deficiency heat.
• Lung abscess or throat abscess: cough with a mixture of pus, blood, and yellowish, foul sputum.
• This is the premier herb for dispersing stagnant Lung Qi.
Hsu: Expectorant – promotes saliva and bronchial secretions; antitussive; antifungal; tranquilizer; analgesic; antipyretic; anti-inflammatory; vasodilator; hypotensive.
DY: Guides other herbs to the Lungs, chest, and the Lung channel. Jie geng can raise herbs which otherwise have a tropism for the lower burner towards the middle or upper burner. Loosens the diaphragm. Mainly upbears but also downbears.
• Can be used to treat the upper body (Lungs – the superior origin of fluids) for certain lower body problems (oliguria, dysuria, anuria).
• With Gan cao to clear heat, transform phlegm, disinhibit the throat and stop pain, evacuate pus, and resolve toxins.
– 1. Pulmonary abscess with cough, expectoration of profuse, purulent phlegm, and chest oppression and pain due to heat stasis in the chest. (Jie Geng Tang)
– 2. Pain, redness, and swelling of the throat due to heat (deficient or excess, external or internal).
– 3. Loss of voice and/or hoarse or husky voice.
– For indications 2 and 3, the combination can be reinforced by adding He zi, as in He Zi Tang. For these indications, in cases of Lung dryness, honey mix-fried Jie geng should be used.
• With Xing ren to effectively regulate the Lungs’ function of dispersing and descending, to transform and disperse phlegm, stop cough, and calm asthma. For such indications as cough and/or asthma with chest oppression, profuse phlegm, sore throat, and aphonia due to an attack of external wind (wind-cold or wind-heat) that disturbs the diffusion and downbearing function of the Lungs.
– Both herbs have the function of dispersing and descending the Lung Qi, however, Jie geng mainly disperses while Xing ren mainly descends. Both herbs transform and disperse phlegm, however, Xing ren mainly transforms while Jie geng mainly disperses (promotes expectoration of) phlegm.
• With Zhi ke to effectively regulate upbearing and downbearing, regulate the upper and middle burners, diffuse the Lung Qi, and loosen the chest and diaphragm. For indications such as:
– 1. Chest and diaphragm oppression or distention or chest Bi due to accumulation of phlegm and Qi stagnation. (Jie Geng Zhi Ke Tang)
– 2. Epigastric distention, stomach rumbling, and difficult defecation due to disturbance of ascending and descending. Note: Zhi ke and Jie geng do not moisten the intestines, do not soften the stools, and do not precipitate the bowels. However, Zhi ke moves and descends the Qi in the large intestine in order to improve evacuation of the stools, while Jie geng disperses and descends Lung Qi. When the Lung Qi correctly descends, the large intestine Qi does the same. Therefore, although Zhi ke and Jie geng do not have a direct action on peristalsis, they can treat constipation due to Lung-large intestine Qi stagnation. Hence, this pair may be used to advantageously reinforce any formula that specifically treats constipation.
• Jie geng is incompatible with pork, seaweed, and Chinese cabbage.
Gan Jie Geng: Adenophora tracheloides – “Sweet” Jie geng
• Moistens the Lungs; clears heat; relieves fire toxicity.
• See its relative, Nan sha shen.
• When Jie geng is specified, Platycodon – Ku jie geng (“bitter” Jie geng) is implied. It is much more commonly used than Adenophora.