English: Andrographis herbs

Chinese: 穿心莲

Parts used: Dried herb above ground

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Stomach Large intestine Lung Small intestine

Scientific name: Andrographis paniculata

Other names: Common andrographis herb, Green chiretta, Kariat, Heart-Thread Lotus Leaf

Use of Chuan Xin Lian (andrographis herbs) in TCM

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: Collect the herb, remove impurities, clean, chop and dry

Dosage: 6-20g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clear Toxic-Heat. Cool the Blood and eases swellings.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Chuan Xin Lian may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Asthma Encephalitis B Acute gastrointestinal tract infection Snake bites Dysentery Viral hepatitis Herpes zoster Painful urinary dysfunction Urinary tract infections Eczema Epistaxis Diarrhea Common cold fever Sore throat Swollen throat Open sores in mouth Carbuncles

Contraindications*: This product should not be used long-term or in high dosages, and is not recommended for weak patients or those without Toxic-Heat. Caution is advised during pregnancy.

Key TCM concepts behind Chuan Xin Lian's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chuan Xin Lian belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Chuan Xin Lian is Cold in nature. This means that Chuan Xin Lian typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Chuan Xin Lian can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Chuan Xin Lian also tastes Bitter. 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. Bitter ingredients like Chuan Xin Lian tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Chuan Xin Lian is thought to target the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Lung and the Small intestine. In TCM 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. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine.