Nature: bitter, very cold
Enters: Heart, Lung, Stomach, San Jiao, Liver
Actions: Clears heat in all three Jiaos; mildly drains dampness; cools the blood; stops bleeding; eliminates toxicity; reduces fire from the heart, Lungs, and stomach to ease restlessness; topically reduces swelling and blood stasis due to trauma.
• Heat in the Lungs, stomach, or heart: restlessness, irritability, fever, stifling sensation in the chest, insomnia, delirious speech.
• Liver/gallbladder damp-heat (and constraint): jaundice, fever, scanty urination.
• Lower Jiao damp-heat: painful urinary dysfunction.
• Damp-heat in the gallbladder and san jiao channels of the face, affecting the nose and eyes or causing sores in the mouth or facial region.
• Heat in the blood: hematemesis, hematuria, hemafecia, epistaxis. Usually partially charred for this use.
• Topical: powder the herb and mix it with egg white or vinegar for swelling and blood stasis due to trauma.
• Increases contraction of the gallbladder 20 to 40 minutes after ingestion.
• A paste made of ground Zhi zi, water, and alcohol was used in an uncontrolled study of 407 acute sprains. The paste was changed every 2-5 days. 80% of patients had no pain within 24 and 97% were pain free within 48 hours. Swelling and restoration of function were also improved.
• Though Wei Li freely uses 9g/day, Guohui Liu is often more conservative with the dosage, cautioning that it is very bitter and cold and can nauseate some patients.
• This herb should be pounded before cooking.
• Partially char the herb when using it to cool the blood and stop bleeding.
• Chao zhi zi is Zhi zi which is dry-fried until it turns yellow. It is less likely than plain Zhi zi to cause nausea or vomiting.
Li: Can lower the body temperature.
MLT: Also promotes blood circulation; relieves pain.
• Liver damp-heat: jaundice, hepatitis, boils, sores.
• Sometimes called the “happiness herb” because it relieves irritability associated with heat and liver stagnation.
Hsu: Cholagogue, lowers blood bilirubin; hypotensive; antibacterial.
DY: This is one of the bitterest substances in the Chinese pharmacopeia.
• The outer layer (epicarpium) of Zhi zi (Shan zhi ke) moves blood and clears external heat. The seeds inside (Shan zhi ren) clear internal heat. The seeds with the epicarpium are superior for draining Lung fire. The seeds without the epicarpium are superior for draining heart fire.
• With Dan dou chi, the two herbs unite to form the clearing and diffusing and out-thrusting method to eliminate evils from the exterior and interior. Together, they effectively promote perspiration, drain evils from the exterior, clear and out-thrust heat from the interior, and eliminate vexation due to full heat. For indications such as:
– 1. Vexation and agitation, insomnia, and irritability during or after a warm disease. (Zhi Zi Chi Tang) Use stir-fried Dan dou chi.
– 2. External contraction of wind-heat or a febrile disease.