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, soak in water, cut into sections and dry.
Dosage: 6 - 12 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.
Contraindications*: Not for those with weak Spleen and Stomach with Coldness and diarrhea.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Nourishes the Stomach. Generates Body Fluids. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.
Mai Dong is a king ingredient in Mai Men Dong Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Mai Men Dong Tang, Mai Dong clears Heat caused due to Stomach Deficiency and generates Body Fluids in the Stomach and Lungs. It is very useful in treating Lung atrophy. Together with Ginseng it is an especially powerful combination to rise the Qi and Yin in the Lungs and Stomach.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.
Mai Dong is a king ingredient in Yi Wei Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1573 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Nourishes Lung and Kidney Yin. Lubricates the Lung and clears phlegm.
Mai Dong is a deputy ingredient in Bai He Gu Jin Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Bai He Gu Jin Tang, Mai Dong is an important herb for tonifying the Yin, especially that of the Upper Burner. It also assist Lily bulb (Bai He) and the other two key herbs with their actions on the Lungs.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mai Dong belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a 'burn-out', unfortunately more and more common among people today. It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!
Furthermore Mai Dong is Cool in nature. This means that Mai Dong tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Mai Dong can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Mai Dong 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 Mai Dong 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 Mai Dong is thought to target the Heart, the Lung and the Stomach. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. 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 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.
Ophiopogonis Radix can be used either as a healthy food or a therapeutic agent for disease prevention and treatment.1
An aqueous extract of Radix Ophiopogon japonicus (ROJ-ext) exerted significant antithrombotic activity and ruscogenin and ophiopogonin D are two of its active components, which supported its therapeutic use for thrombotic diseases.2
1. Chen MH, Chen XJ, Wang M, Lin LG, Wang YT. (2016). Ophiopogon japonicus--A phytochemical, ethnomedicinal and pharmacological review. J Ethnopharmacol. , 181:193-213. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.01.037. Epub 2016 Jan 27.
2. Junping Kou, Youqing Tian, Yunkit Tang, Jin Yan, Boyang Yu (2006). Antithrombotic Activities of Aqueous Extract from Radix Ophiopogon japonicus and Its Two Constituents. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 29(6): 1267-1270. DOI https://doi.org/10.1248/bpb.29.1267
Mai Dong is also eaten as food.