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: Prepared from finely powered tuber of the plant and the bile of ox, sheep or pig.
Main actions according to TCM*: To clear Heat and resolve Phlegm, dispel Wind and stop convulsions
Contraindications*: Slightly toxic in this form (the unprepared herb this derives from is very toxic). Use with extreme caution during pregnancy.
Source date: 1584 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Directs Rebellious Qi downwards. Stops coughing.
Dan Nan Xing is a king ingredient in Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1732 AD
Number of ingredients: 15 herbs
Formula key actions: Sedates the Heart . Clears Phlegm. Clears Fire. Calms the Mind.
Dan Nan Xing is a deputy ingredient in Sheng Tie Luo Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Sheng Tie Luo Yin, Dan Nan Xing is bitter and cooling. It dispels Wind-Phlegm and treating seizures.
Source date: Late 18th century
Number of ingredients: 19 herbs
Formula key actions: Opens the sensory orifices. Arrests spasms and convulsions. Clears Heat and transforms Phlegm.
Dan Nan Xing is a deputy ingredient in Hui Chun 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), Dan Nan Xing belongs to the 'Cool 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 Cold in nature so they treat the later stages of the Stagnation: Hot and Dry-Phlegm with symptoms such as cough, goiter or scrofula.
As suggested by its category Dan Nan Xing is Cool in nature. This means that Dan Nan Xing tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. 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 Dan Nan Xing can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Dan 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 Dan 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.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Dan Nan Xing is thought to target the Spleen, the Liver and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. 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.