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 bamboo's outer bark, shave very thin stripes and let them dry
Dosage: 4.5 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Phlegm-Heat in the Lungs. Clears Heat in the Stomach and stops vomiting. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used in cases of Spleen Deficiency or cough caused by Cold.
Source date: Essentials from the Golden Cabinet
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Directs rebellious Qi downward. Stops hiccup. Augments Qi. Clears heat.
Zhu Ru is a king ingredient in Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1174 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.
Zhu Ru is a deputy ingredient in Wen Dan Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Source date: Qing Dynasty
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes. Resolves Phlegm. Harmonizes the Stomach.
Zhu Ru is a deputy ingredient in Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang. 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), bamboo shavings are plants that belong 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 bamboo shavings are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that bamboo shavings tend 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 bamboo shavings can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Bamboo shavings also taste Sweet. 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. Sweet ingredients like bamboo shavings tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such bamboo shavings are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Stomach and the Lung. 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. 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.
Bamboo shavings are also eaten as food.