English: Chinese Lobelia herbs

Chinese: 半边莲

Parts used: Whole plant

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Heart Lung Small intestine

Scientific name: Lobelia chinensis

Other names: Lobeliae Chinensis Herba

Use of Ban Bian Lian (chinese lobelia herbs) 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 herbs, removes impurities, clean and dry

Dosage: 3-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Promotes urination and reduces edema and swellings. Detoxifying and anti-inflammatory. Anti-cancer.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ban Bian Lian may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Edema Snake bites Enteritis Dysentery Eczema Cirrhosis of the Liver Cancer Inflamed sores Abscesses Venomous bite

Contraindications*: Use with caution for individuals with all types of Deficiencies.

Key TCM concepts behind Ban Bian Lian's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ban Bian Lian 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 Ban Bian Lian is Neutral in nature. This means that Ban Bian Lian 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 Ban Bian Lian means that you don't have to worry about that!

Ban Bian Lian 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 Ban Bian Lian 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 Ban Bian Lian is thought to target the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine. 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. 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. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine.