English: Crown prince ginseng

Chinese: 太子参

Parts used: Dried root and Rhizome

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Lung

Scientific name: Pseudostellaria heterophylla

Other names: Hai Er Shen, Child ginseng, Kid ginseng, False starwort

Use of Tai Zi Shen (crown prince ginseng) 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 impurities, wash in hot water and dry.

Dosage: 9 to 30 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the the Lung and Spleen Qi. Supplies Body Fluids.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Tai Zi Shen may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Loss of appetite Weakness after illness Excessive thirst Dry cough

Contraindications*: Should not be used with Veratri (Li Lu)

Key TCM concepts behind Tai Zi Shen's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tai Zi Shen belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Qi tonics are typically sweet and they tend to enter the Spleen and Lungs because these Organs are most involved with the production of Qi.

Furthermore Tai Zi Shen is Neutral in nature. This means that Tai Zi Shen typically doesn'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 Tai Zi Shen means that you don't have to worry about that!

Tai Zi Shen 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 Tai Zi Shen 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 Tai Zi Shen is thought to target the Spleen and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.