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 the fibrous roots and outer skin of the rhizome and dry it
Dosage: 4 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Dries and expels Phlegm in the Lung. Clears Wind and Phlegm in the channels and stops convulsions and spasms. Used topically it reduces inflammation and pain.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Tian Nan Xing may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Coughing Chest congestion Chronic cough with sticky phlegm Vertigo Hemiplegia Epilepsy Convulsions Tetanus Boils Sores Snake bites Insect bites Abcesses Paralysis Stroke
Contraindications*: This is a toxic ingredient, to be used with caution! This ingredient should not be used during pregnancy or by those with Yin Deficient cough with Dry Phlegm.
Source date: 1470 AD
Number of ingredients: 9 herbs
Formula key actions: Removes Phlegm. Opens the sensory orifices. Tonifies Qi.
Tian Nan Xing is a king ingredient in Di Tan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Dispels Wind. Eliminates Dampness and transforms Phlegm . Invigorates the Blood. Removes Stagnation and relieves pain.
Tian Nan Xing is a deputy ingredient in Xiao Huo Luo Dan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tian Nan Xing belongs to the 'Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. The herbs in this category are Warm in nature so they treat the early stages of the Stagnation: Cold-Phlegm and Wet-Phlegm with symptoms of wheezing, vomiting and nausea.
As suggested by its category Tian Nan Xing is Warm in nature. This means that Tian Nan Xing 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 Tian Nan Xing can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Tian Nan Xing 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 Tian Nan Xing 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.