Donkey-hide gelatin (E Jiao) in Chinese Medicine

Donkey-hide gelatin

Chinese: 阿膠

Pinyin: Ē Jiāo

Parts used: Solid glue prepared from the dried or fresh skin of donkeys

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiverLung

Scientific name: Equus asinus

Other names: Ass-hide glue, Donkey skin glue

Use of donkey-hide gelatin (E Jiao) 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: The donkey skin is soaked in water to soften it and the hair are removed. The skin is then chopped into small pieces, put in boiling water and the gelatin is separated from the skin. The gelatin is boiled further and then left to cool down and ultimately dry into solidified pieces.

Dosage: 3 - 15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies and nourishes Blood. Stops bleeding. Moistens and lubricates Yin.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which donkey-hide gelatin may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Dizziness Pale face Palpitations Bloody sputum Blood in stools Abnormal uterine bleeding Insomnia Irritability Anemia Dry cough Hemoptysis Hematemesis Hematuria Excessive menstrual discharge

Contraindications*: Not for External conditions or conditions associated with Dampness caused by Spleen Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind donkey-hide gelatin (E Jiao)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), donkey-hide gelatin are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stasis in the case of certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore donkey-hide gelatin are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that donkey-hide gelatin typically don'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 donkey-hide gelatin means that you don't have to worry about that!

Donkey-hide gelatin also taste Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like donkey-hide gelatin 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 donkey-hide gelatin are thought to target the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung. 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 body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the body fluids that nourish the body.