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.
Contraindications*: Should not be used by those who have diarrhea or those with Cold and Deficiency.
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears heat. Cools the Blood. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.
Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Wu Lin San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Wu Lin San, Zhi Zi clears Heat from the Qi aspect via the Triple Burner and cools and moves the Blood. It is ideally suited for a pattern characterized by Damp-Heat leading to reckless movement of the Blood.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears and disperses Dryness.
Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Sang Xing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 2 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Alleviates restlessness and irritability.
Zhi Zi is a king ingredient in Zhi Zi Chi Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Zhi Zi belongs 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 '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 purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.
As suggested by its category Zhi Zi is Cold in nature. This means that Zhi Zi 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 Zhi Zi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Zhi Zi 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 Zhi Zi 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 Zhi Zi is thought to target the Gallbladder, the Heart, the Lung and the Sanjiao. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder 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 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. 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. 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 Fluids, Qi and food are transported through the San Jiao and that very movement helps our metabolism.
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. https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.28.2106
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
Zhi Zi is also eaten as food.