English: Cattail pollen

Chinese: 蒲黄

Parts used: Dried pollen

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Heart Liver Pericardium

Scientific name: Typha angustifolia or Typha orientalis

Use of Pu Huang (cattail pollen) 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: Simply extract the pollen from the plant and dry it

Dosage: 5 - 10 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Stops bleeding by Cooling pathogenic Heat. Moves Blood and relieves Blood Stagnation.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Pu Huang may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Traumatic bleeding Nosebleed Excessive menstrual discharge Chest pain Menstrual cramps Delayed menstruation Hematemesis Dysmenorrhea

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used during pregnancy.

Common TCM formulas in which Pu Huang is used*

Shi Xiao San

Source date: 1108 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Eases pain.

Conditions targeted*: Irregular menstruationDysmenorrhea and others

Pu Huang is a king ingredient in Shi Xiao San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Shi Xiao San, Pu Huang is neutral and sweet and it enters the Liver Blood. It not only strongly supports Blood circulation, but also stops bleeding.

Read more about Shi Xiao San

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.

In Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Pu Huang

invigorates Blood and stops pain

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Remove Blood Stagnation. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Mind.

In Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, Pu Huang invigorates Blood and eliminate Blood Stagnation. It also calms the Mind

Read more about Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Pu Huang's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Pu Huang belongs 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 Pu Huang is Neutral in nature. This means that Pu Huang typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Pu Huang means that you don't have to worry about that!

Pu Huang also tastes 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 Pu Huang tends 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 Pu Huang is thought to target the Spleen, the Heart, the Liver and the Pericardium. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. In addition to regulating Blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. 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. The Pericardium is also called the "heart protector". It is the first line of defence for the Heart against external pathogenic influences