English: Chinese Tulip bulbs

Chinese: 山慈菇

Parts used: bulb

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): PungentSweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Liver

Scientific name: Cremastra appensiculata,Pleione bulbocodioides,Pleione yunnanensis

Other names: Cremastra pseudo bulb, Appendiculate cremastra pseudobulb, Common pleione pseudobulb, Cremastra, Pleione,Iphigenia

Use of Shan Ci Gu (chinese tulip bulbs) 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 bulb, remove impurities, soak in water for about 1 hour, fully moisten, cut into thin slices, dry or wash and dry. Crush before using.

Dosage: 3-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and toxicity. Dissipates nodules and abscesses.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Shan Ci Gu may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Sores Abscesses Carbuncles Scrofula Nodules Abdominal masses

Contraindications*: Not recommended for patients with weak constitution.

Key TCM concepts behind Shan Ci Gu's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shan Ci Gu 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 Shan Ci Gu is Cool in nature. This means that Shan Ci Gu tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. 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 Shan Ci Gu can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Shan Ci Gu also tastes Pungent and 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. Pungent ingredients like Shan Ci Gu 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 Sweet ingredients 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 Shan Ci Gu is thought to target the Spleen and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Liver on the other hand 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.