Tian Hua Fen – Trichosanthes root – “Heavenly Flower Powder”

Nature: bitter, slightly sweet, cold

Enters: Lung, Stomach

Actions: Strongly clears heat from the Lungs and stomach; strongly drains pus and relieves swelling; transforms phlegm; generates body fluids, moistens Lung dryness; relieves toxicity.

• Heat injures the body fluids: restlessness, irritability, thirst, cough, dry tongue coat, wasting and thirsting disorder.
• Heat in the Lungs: cough, including dry cough, or coughing blood-streaked sputum
• Heat and toxicity: red, swollen, painful carbuncles, boils, other swellings, sores. Especially useful for breast abscess (both internally and topically).
• Diabetes: heat in the Lungs and stomach with strong hunger and extreme thirst. Use 60-90g or more.
• Abortifacient (used 2nd trimester) – applied via a tea-soaked tampon or IM injection (also with She xiang) – takes 3-6 days to have an effect.
• compared to Mai men dong and Tian men dong, Tian hua fen is best for Lung For heat and dryness, Tian hua fen is most useful for when the origin is stomach heat. Mai men dong is superior when the origin is heart fire, and Tian men dong is superior when the origin is kidney Yin deficiency.
Tian hua fen is much stronger than Lu gen at relieving swelling and draining pus.
• Bensky/Gamble and MLT classify this with herbs that resolve phlegm-heat.
• Some people are allergic to this herb.

Dose: 9-30g
Contains Compound Q/Trichosanthin/GLQ223 – a protein which has been utilized in the treatment of various kinds of ulcers, as an abortifacient, and to treat diseases of trophoblastic origin, such as hydatiform mole, invasive mole, choriocarcinoma. It appears to inhibit HIV-1 replication in acutely infected T-lymphoblastoid cells and chronically infected macrophages, and appears to selectively kill HIV-infected cells.
It produces an anaphylactic reaction in 10-20% of users. Pharmaceutical companies have produced chemically modified variations for greatly reduced allergenicity.
CHA: (Harriet Beinfield, Efrem Korngold, March 7, 2001):
Weidong Lu, MD, L.Ac., Chairman of the Chinese Herbal Medicine Department at the New England School of Acupuncture, explains that trichosanthin is a type of protein that is inactivated by digestive enzymes or by decocting the herb in boiling water. Trichosanthin cannot be absorbed as an active protein by the intestine from either the crude herbal material or the water extract. He further states that trichosanthin can only exert toxicity via intravenous or intramuscular injection, and that overdoses of injected Trichosanthes root may cause allergic reactions that include malaise, sore throat, headache, swelling, itching, and rashes. He maintains that Trichosanthes root is non-toxic when consumed orally in appropriate doses.

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