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Curculigo rhizomes

Chinese: 仙茅

Pinyin: Xiān Máo

Parts used: Dried rhizome

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Hot

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Spleen Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Curculigo orchioides

Other names: Golden eye grass, Circuligo

Use of curculigo rhizomes (Xian Mao) 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: Dry the rhizome of the plant, ideally under the sun

Dosage: 3 - 9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang and treats Kidney Yang Deficiency patterns. Strengthens the bones and sinews. Clears Cold and Dampness.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which curculigo rhizomes may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Impotence Urinary incontinence Chronic lower back pain Hypertension Arthritis Diarrhea

Contraindications*: Not for symptoms of Yin Deficiency

Common TCM formulas in which curculigo rhizomes (Xian Mao) are used*

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Conditions targeted*: Perimenopausal syndromeEssential hypertension and others

Xian Mao is a king ingredient in Er Xian Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Er Xian Tang, Xian Mao works together with Epimedium herb (Yin Yang Huo), the other key herb in this formula, and with Morinda root (Ba Ji Tian), a deputy herb here, to warm the Kidney Yang and tonify the Kidney Essence

Read more about Er Xian Tang

Key TCM concepts behind curculigo rhizomes (Xian Mao)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), curculigo rhizomes are plants that belong 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 curculigo rhizomes are plants that are Hot in nature. This means that curculigo rhizomes typically help people who have too much "Cold" in their body. 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 curculigo rhizomes can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Curculigo rhizomes also taste 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 curculigo rhizomes tend 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 curculigo rhizomes are thought to target the Spleen, the Kidney and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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 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.