Cape jasmine fruits

Chinese: 栀子

Pinyin: Zhī Zi

Parts used: Dried ripe fruit

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: GallbladderHeartLungSanjiao

Scientific name: Gardenia jasminoides

Other names: Gardenia fruit, Cape jessamine fruit, Danh-danh fruit

Use of cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) 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 stems and impurities, steam or boil slightly in water, dry. Crush before use.

Dosage: 3 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and calms spirit. Drains Damp-Heat affecting the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears Heat in the Blood and stops bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which cape jasmine fruits may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Restlessness Insomnia Hematuria Bloody sputum Nosebleed Uveitis Carbuncles Sores

Contraindications*: Should not be used by those who have diarrhea or those with Cold and Deficiency.

Common TCM formulas in which cape jasmine fruits are used*:

Key TCM concepts behind cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cape jasmine fruits are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' 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 '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 purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category cape jasmine fruits are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that cape jasmine fruits typically help 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 cape jasmine fruits can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Cape jasmine fruits also taste Bitter. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like cape jasmine fruits 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 cape jasmine fruits are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gall Bladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. In addition to regulating blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the body fluids that nourish the body. The triple burner (Sanjiao) is a special concept in TCM with no corresponding organ in modern medicine. Its function is similar to a water wheel: body fuilds, Qi and food are transported through the San Jiao and that very movement helps our metabolism.

Research on cape jasmine fruits(Zhi Zi)

Shufeng Liangxue Decoction (consisting of cape-jasmine fruits) is effective and safe in treating hormone dependence dermatitis with the efficacy better and relapse rate lower than those of treatment with Western medicine alone.1

The fruit of Gardenia jasminoides ELLIS has strong antihyperlipidemic activities and could improve hyperlipidemia (i.e. a condition in which there are high levels of fat particles in the blood).2

EtOH extract of gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides Ellis) fruits possesses potent anti-angiogenic activity (i.e. stopping tumours from growing their own blood vessels) in the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay.3


1. Bai YS, Zhou CY, Wang JQ. (2008). Clinical observation on auxiliary treatment of hormone dependence dermatitis by shufeng liangxue decoction. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 28(12):1121-3.

2. In-Ah Lee, Jin Hee Lee, Nam-In Baek, Dong-Hyun Kim (2005). Antihyperlipidemic Effect of Crocin Isolated from the Fructus of Gardenia jasminoides and Its Metabolite Crocetin. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 28(11), p. 2106-2110.

3. HJ Koo, S Lee, KH Shin, BC Kim, CJ Lim et al. (2004). Geniposide, an Anti-Angiogenic Compound from the Fruits of Gardenia jasminoides. Planta Med 2004; 70(5): 467-469. DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-818978

Use of cape jasmine fruits (Zhi Zi) as food

Cape jasmine fruits are also eaten as food.