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Chinese nutmeg yews

Chinese: 榧子

Pinyin: Fěi Zi

Parts used: Dried seed

TCM category: Herbs that expel parasites

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Stomach Large intestine Lung

Scientific name: Torreya grandis

Other names: Torreya seeds

Use of chinese nutmeg yews (Fei 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 seed and crush before use

Dosage: 6 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Kills parasites, help digestion and lubricates the Lungs. Help hemorrhoids.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which chinese nutmeg yews may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Intestinal parasites Dry cough Constipation Hemorrhoids

Common TCM formulas in which chinese nutmeg yews (Fei Zi) are used*

Key TCM concepts behind chinese nutmeg yews (Fei Zi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chinese nutmeg yews are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that expel parasites' category. Herbs in this category are used to treat roundworms, tapeworm, hookworm and other intestinal parasites. In most cases, these herbs should be combined with other herbs to assist their action such as 'Purgative herbs that drain downward' or Qi tonics. Typically these herbs should only be prescribed for a short period as they often have some level of toxicity.

Furthermore chinese nutmeg yews are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that chinese nutmeg yews typically don'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 chinese nutmeg yews means that you don't have to worry about that!

Chinese nutmeg yews also taste 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 chinese nutmeg yews tend 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 chinese nutmeg yews are thought to target the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Lung. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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.

Research on chinese nutmeg yews (Fei Zi)

Torreya grandis has significant anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.1


1. BQ Chen, XY Cui, X Zhao, YH Zhang, HS Piao et al. (2006). "Antioxidative and acute antiinflammatory effects of Torreya grandis" Fitoterapia. Volume 77, Issue 4, Pages 262-267