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 impurities and fibrous roots, wash, moisten slightly, cut into sections, and dry. If using fresh you can bury it in wet sand to prevent dryness.
Dosage: 9 - 30 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and promotes the generation of Fluids. Dispels Lung Heat. Dispels Stomach Heat. Promotes urination and clears Heat in the urinary tract. Calm the minds and stop vomiting.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used when there is weakness in the Spleen and Stomach caused by Cold.
Source date: 627 AD
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears heat from the Lungs. Transforms Phlegm. Drives out Blood-Stagnation. Discharges pus.
Lu Gen is a king ingredient in Wei Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Wei Jing Tang, Lu Gen clears Heat from the Lungs. In Encountering the Sources of the Classic of Materia Medica, the 17th-century physician Zhang Lu wrote that it "specializes in facilitating passage through the orifices and thus is good at treating Lung abscess."
Source date: 1862 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.
Lu Gen is an assistant ingredient in Lian Po Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.
Lu Gen is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
In Yin Qiao San, Lu Gen creates Body Fluids and alleviates thirst.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), common reed rhizomes are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' 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 purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.
As suggested by its category common reed rhizomes are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that common reed rhizomes typically help 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 common reed rhizomes can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Common reed rhizomes 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 common reed rhizomes 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 common reed rhizomes are thought to target the Stomach 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. 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.
Common reed rhizomes are also eaten as food.