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Biota twigs and leaves

Chinese: 侧柏叶

Pinyin: Cè Bó Yè

Parts used: Dried twigs and leaves

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Heart Large intestine Liver Lung

Scientific name: Platyclasdus orientalis

Other names: Ce Bai Ye, Chinese thuja twigs and leaves, Oriental arborvitae twigs and leaves, Oriental thuja twigs and leaves, Chinese Arborvitae twigs and leaves

Use of biota twigs and leaves (Ce Bo Ye) 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: Collect twigs and leaves, remove impurities, wash and dry.

Dosage: 6 to 12 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Cools Blood Heat and stops bleeding. Reduces Lung Heat, stops coughing and expels Phlegm. Relieves numb pain from Wind Damp. Cools Heat on the skin and helps burns healing.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which biota twigs and leaves may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Bloody coughing Bleeding gums Abnormal uterine bleeding Bloody sputum Arthritis Burns Burn infection Hair loss Premature graying Epistaxis Hematemesis Hemoptysis Hematochezia

Contraindications*: Not for people with Heat or Damp. It should also not be used over long periods of time.

Key TCM concepts behind biota twigs and leaves (Ce Bo Ye)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), biota twigs and leaves are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that stop bleeding' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, meaning that they help stop various types of hemorrhages and echymosis. Unlike other herbs they often tend to be used externally.

Furthermore biota twigs and leaves are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that biota twigs and leaves 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 biota twigs and leaves can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Biota twigs and leaves also taste 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 biota twigs and leaves tend 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 biota twigs and leaves are thought to target the Heart, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Large Intestine on the other hand 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. 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.