Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Remove impurities
Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the Spleen and transforms Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi for Damp and Stagnant conditions of the Stomach and Spleen. Settles a restless fetus and stops morning sickness. Prevents cloying and Stagnation sometimes caused by tonifying herbs.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Sha Ren may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Dysentery Abdominal pain Vomiting Diarrhea Anorexia Miscarriage Dysphagia Morning sickness
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yin Deficiency when there are Heat signs.
Source date: 13th century
Number of ingredients: 13 herbs
Formula key actions: Separates and reduces alcohol-dampness. Warms the Middle. Strengthens the Spleen .
Conditions targeted*: HangoversAlcoholism and others
Sha Ren is a deputy ingredient in Ge Hua Jie Cheng San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Ge Hua Jie Cheng San, Sha Ren warm the Middle Burner, strengthen the Spleen, harmonize the Stomach and invigorate Qi. Thus, the Spleen gains control over the accumulation of Dampness.
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Augments the Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Leaches out Dampness. Stops diarrhea.
Conditions targeted*: Chronic gastritisEnteritis and others
Sha Ren is an assistant ingredient in Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
In Shen Ling Bai Zhu San, Sha Ren transforms Dampness and promotes the movement of Qi so the formula can tonify without causing Stagnation.
Source date: 1801 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Formula key actions: Invigorates the Blood and removes Blood Stagnation . Promote Qi movement . Relieves pain .
Conditions targeted*: Angina pectorisHepatitis and others
Sha Ren is an assistant ingredient in Dan Shen Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
In Dan Shen Yin, Sha Ren promotes the Qi movement, relaxes the Middle Burner, disperses the stifling sensation of constraint in the chest, and relieves pain.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Sha Ren belongs to the 'Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness' category. This category of herbs resolves a TCM condition called 'Cold Damp Stagnation', especially as it affects the Stomach and Spleen. In modern medicine this often translates into symptoms such as distended chest and abdomen, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting
As suggested by its category Sha Ren is Warm in nature. This means that Sha Ren tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Sha Ren can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Sha Ren also tastes Pungent. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Pungent ingredients like Sha Ren tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Sha Ren is thought to target the Kidney, the Spleen and the Stomach. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Spleen on the other hand assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine.
Bornyl acetate, the main ingredient of Amomum villosum volatile oil, shows analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.1
1. X Wu, X Li, F Xiao, Z Zhang et al. (2004). "Studies on the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of bornyl acetate in volatile oil from Amomum villosum". europepmc.org
Sha Ren is also eaten as food.