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: Because the raw unprocessed herb is toxic, it is most often given in its processed form which is fried with Ginger juice.
Dosage: 3 - 12 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.
Contraindications*: This herb is toxic in its raw form so it should only be taken if processed by a professional. This herb should not be used by pregnant women or those with any blood disorders, especially bleeding. It should be used with caution by those with Heat and Dryness. This herb should not be used with Aconite (Fu Zi).
Source date: 1148 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).
Ban Xia is a king ingredient in Er Chen Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Er Chen Tang, Ban Xia dries Dampness, expels Phlegm, and causes rebellious Qi in the Stomach to descend. As a single ingredient, it provides most of the actions required in treating a Phlegm-Dampness pattern.
Source date: 1732 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Dries and dissolves Phlegm. Strengthens the Spleen. Smoothes the Liver and calms Liver Wind (antispasmodic).
Ban Xia is a king ingredient in Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1174 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.
Ban Xia is a king ingredient in Wen Dan Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ban Xia belongs to the 'Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. The herbs in this category are Warm in nature so they treat the early stages of the Stagnation: Cold-Phlegm and Wet-Phlegm with symptoms of wheezing, vomiting and nausea.
As suggested by its category Ban Xia is Warm in nature. This means that Ban Xia 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 Ban Xia can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Ban Xia also tastes Pungent. 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 Ban Xia 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.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Ban Xia is thought to target the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach. 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. The Spleen on the other hand assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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 herbal medicine TJ-109 (consisting of Pinellia tuber) effectively reduced the incidence of acute tonsillitis. 1
Tracheitis Plaster (consisting of Pinellia tuber) is a highly effective transcutaneous absorbent with promising long-term effect and could regulate the immune function.2
1. Goto F, Asama Y, Ogawa K. (2010). Sho-saiko-to-ka-kikyo-sekko as an alternative treatment for chronic tonsillitis to avoid surgery. Complement Ther Clin Pract. , 16(4):216-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.02.006. Epub 2010 Mar 19.
2. Huo GR, Ma LQ, Huang CH. (2001). Clinical study on treatment of chronic bronchitis by tracheitis plaster. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi, 21(11):816-8.