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, soak in water, cut in thin slices and dry.
Dosage: 3 - 10g
Main actions according to TCM*: Destroys parasites. Regulates Qi circulation. Promotes urination.
Source date: 1642 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Opens the membrane source by thrusting out pathogens. Clears away filth. Transforms turbidity.
Bing Lang is a king ingredient in Da Yuan Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
The strong, aromatic and acrid, and properties of this herb help it reach and open up the membrane source, which turbidity has constrained.
Source date: 1156 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Kills parasites. Reduces accumulation. Strengthens the Spleen. Clears Heat.
Bing Lang is a king ingredient in Fei Er Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Fei Er Wan, Bing Lang has a strong effect on killing parasites.
Source date: 1107
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Regulates Cold and Heat. Harmonizes the Stomach. Directs rebellious Qi downward.
Bing Lang is a deputy ingredient in Jie Nue Qi Bao Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Jie Nue Qi Bao Yin, Bing Lang promotes the descent of Qi as well as urination.
The combination of Areca nut and Tsaoko fruit has a long history in treating malarial disorders.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bing Lang belongs to the 'Herbs that expel parasites' category. Herbs in this category are used to treat roundworms, tapeworm, hookworm and other intestinal parasites. In most cases, these herbs should be combined with other herbs to assist their action such as 'Purgative herbs that drain downward' or Qi tonics. Typically these herbs should only be prescribed for a short period as they often have some level of toxicity.
Furthermore Bing Lang is Warm in nature. This means that Bing Lang 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 Bing Lang can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Bing Lang also tastes Bitter and 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. Bitter ingredients like Bing Lang tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Pungent ingredients tend 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 Bing Lang is thought to target the Large intestine and the Stomach. In TCM the Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine.
Areca catechu has potential for the treatment of many diseases, especially parasitic diseases, digestive function disorders, and depression.1
1. Peng W, Liu YJ, Wu N, Sun T, He XY, Gao YX, Wu CJ. (2015). Areca catechu L. (Arecaceae): a review of its traditional uses, botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology. J Ethnopharmacol , 22;164:340-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.02.010.