English: Bushy Sophora roots

Chinese: 山豆根

Parts used: Roots and rhizomes

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Heart Large intestine Lung

Scientific name: Sophora tonkinensis Gagnap

Other names: Vietnamese sophora root, Pigeon-Pea Root,

Use of Shan Dou Gen (bushy sophora roots) 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 remaining stems and impurities, soak, wash clean, moisten thoroughly, cut into thick slices, and dry.

Dosage: 3-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Fire in the Upper Burner and benefits the throat. Stops cough due to Lung Heat.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Shan Dou Gen may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Swollen throat Painful throat Gum swelling Painful gums Coughing Abscesses Carbuncles Sores Throat cancer Lung cancer Scabies by snake or bug bites Jaundice

Contraindications*: Pregnant individuals and those suffering from diarrhea due to Spleen Qi Deficiency should refrain from using this herb.

Key TCM concepts behind Shan Dou Gen's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shan Dou Gen belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' 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 relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

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

Shan Dou Gen 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 Shan Dou Gen 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 Shan Dou Gen is thought to target the Heart, the Large intestine 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. 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.