English: Chinese Gall

Chinese: 五倍子

Parts used: The dried parasite gall

TCM category: Herbs that stabilize and bind

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): PungentSour

Organ affinity: Kidney Large intestine Lung

Scientific name: Melaphis chinensis, Rhus chinensis Mill, Rhus potaninii Maxim or Rhus punjabensis

Other names: Nutgall, Chinese Sumac, Gallnut of Chinese Sumac

Use of Wu Bei Zi (chinese gall) 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 the gall before the parasite is hatched, boiled and dried

Dosage: 3-5g

Main actions according to TCM*: Astringes Lung Qi and clear Lung Heat. Astringes the Intestines and stop diarrhea. Stop sweating, bleeding and exudations.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Wu Bei Zi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Chronic cough Chronic diarrhea Dysentery Chronic hemafecia Rectal prolapse Excessive sweating Nocturnal emission Spermatorrhea Sores Dermatosis Bloody coughing Bloody sputum Abnormal uterine bleeding Hematochezia Bleeding gums Hematuria Epistaxis

Common TCM formulas in which Wu Bei Zi is used*

Gu Chong Tang

Source date: 1918-1934

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Augments Qi . Strengthens the Spleen. Stabilizes the Penetrating Vessel. Stops bleeding.

Conditions targeted*: Dysfunctional uterine bleedingPostpartum bleeding and others

Wu Bei Zi is an assistant ingredient in Gu Chong Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Gu Chong Tang, Wu Bei Zi restrain Body Fluids leakage and stop bleeding.

Because of the importance of quickly stopping the bleeding, the dosage of this ingredients is rather large. However, there is an potential risk that it may cause Blood Stagnation

Read more about Gu Chong Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Wu Bei Zi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Wu Bei Zi belongs to the 'Herbs that stabilize and bind' category. This category of herbs is used for treating abnormal discharges and displacement of Organs. This includes conditions such as diarrhea, discharges from the vagina, penis or rectum as well as prolapse of the Uterus or rectum. It is important to note that herbs in this category only treat symptoms, so one should also use herbs to treat the underlying Deficiency.

Furthermore Wu Bei Zi is Cold in nature. This means that Wu Bei 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 Wu Bei Zi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Wu Bei Zi also tastes Pungent and Sour. 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. Pungent ingredients like Wu Bei Zi tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food. On the other hand Sour ingredients help with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of Fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Wu Bei Zi is thought to target the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Lung. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. 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.