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 rhizome, remove impurities, slices and dry.
Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang and treats Kidney Yang Deficiency patterns so that it strengthens the Bones and Sinews. Treats Cold, Wind, and Dampness conditions with stiffness, soreness of the lower back and knees. Treats urinary incontinence and chronic vaginal discharge.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Gou Ji may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Bone injury Ligament injury Weak knees Weak lower back Leg edema Urinary incontinence Chronic vaginal discharge Sore lower back Sore knees Stiff lower back Stiff knees
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Gou Ji belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.
Furthermore Gou Ji is Warm in nature. This means that Gou Ji tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Gou Ji can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Gou Ji also tastes Bitter 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. Bitter ingredients like Gou Ji tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. 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 Gou Ji is thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. 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 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.