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Drynaria rhizomes

Chinese: 骨碎补

Pinyin: Gǔ Suì Bǔ

Parts used: Roots and Rhizomes

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Kidney Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Drynaria roosii

Other names: Drynaria fortunei, Aglaomorpha fortunei

Use of drynaria rhizomes (Gu Sui Bu) 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, cut, and dry.

Dosage: 3 to 9 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang, the Governor Vessel, Qi and Blood. Supplies Essence and supports growth. Strengthens the sinews and bones as well as clears Cold and Dampness. Treats infertility and impotence.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which drynaria rhizomes may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Back pain Tinnitus Impaired hearing Loose teeth Traumatic injuries Conjunctivitis Alopecia areata Vitiligo Infertility Impotence Urinary difficulties Cold intolerance Sore lower back Sore knees Hypertension with menopause

Contraindications*: Not for those with Yin Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind drynaria rhizomes (Gu Sui Bu)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), drynaria 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 drynaria rhizomes are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that drynaria rhizomes tend 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 drynaria rhizomes can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Drynaria rhizomes also taste Bitter. 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 drynaria rhizomes tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such drynaria rhizomes are thought to target the Kidney, the Large intestine and the Liver. 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 Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. 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.

Research on drynaria rhizomes (Gu Sui Bu)

Bushen Qiangdu Recipe (consisting of Drynariae rhizomes) could regulate the bone metabolic level in patients, attenuate the immune inflammatory response, improve the spine and joint activities functions, increase bone formation, reduce bone resorption, thereby enhancing the bone mineral density, showing significant therapeutic effect on osteoporosis in ankylosing spondylitis patients.1


1. Wang H, Yan XP, Kong WP. (2011). Effect of bushen qiangdu recipe on osteoporosis and bone loss of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 31(4):471-5.