English: Ash Barks

Chinese: 秦皮

Parts used: Bark

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Gallbladder Stomach Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Fraxinus rhynchophylla Hance, Fraxinus chinensis Roxb, Fraxinus szaboana Lingelsh or Fraxinus stylosa

Other names: Fraxinus bark, Korean Ash Bark

Use of Qin Pi (ash barks) 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: Remove impurities, wash, soak in water, cut thick slices, dry.

Dosage: 3-12g

Main actions according to TCM*: Expels Damp-Heat diarrhea. Eliminates Liver Fire and brightens the eyes. Dispels Wind-Damp painful obstruction (Bi Pain). Relieves cough and wheezing.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Qin Pi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Diarrhea Dysentery Swollen eyes Painful eyes Red eyes Cataracts Cough Asthma

Contraindications*: Contraindicated for patients with Stomach or Spleen Cold or Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind Qin Pi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qin Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness' 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 dry Dampness treat the latter while, at the same time, relieving the body of excess Dampness. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Qin Pi is Cold in nature. This means that Qin Pi 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 Qin Pi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Qin Pi 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 Qin Pi 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 Qin Pi is thought to target the Gallbladder, the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Liver. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. 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. 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 Liver 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.