English: Eupatorium herbs

Chinese: 佩兰

Parts used: Dried aerial parts

TCM category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach Lung

Scientific name: Eupatorium fortunei

Use of Pei Lan (eupatorium herbs) 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, soak in water, cut in parts and dry.

Dosage: 4 - 9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Transforms Dampness that obstructs the Stomach (Middle Warmer). Invigorates the function of the Spleen and improves appetite. Relieves Summer Heat.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Pei Lan may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Abdominal bloating Vomiting Summer Heat Chest congestion Bad breath Loss of appetite

Contraindications*: Even though the neutral energy of this herb will not lead to dryness it should not be used when one has a Yin Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind Pei Lan's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Pei Lan belongs to the 'Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness' category. This category of herbs resolves a TCM condition called 'Cold Damp Stagnation', especially as it affects the Stomach and Spleen. In modern medicine this often translates into symptoms such as distended chest and abdomen, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting

As suggested by its category Pei Lan is Neutral in nature. This means that Pei Lan 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 Pei Lan means that you don't have to worry about that!

Pei Lan also tastes 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 Pei Lan tends 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 Pei Lan is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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.

Research on Pei Lan

Numerous studies have demonstrated that E. fortunei possesses anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic activities, as well as cytotoxicity to human leukemia cells.1

Results indicate that an aqueous extract of E. fortunei is a potential therapeutic herbal product that may be useful for controlling malignant metastatic cancer.1


1. Kim Aeyung, Im Minju, Yim Nam-Hui, Ma Jin Yeul (2014). Reduction of metastatic and angiogenic potency of malignant cancer by Eupatorium fortunei via suppression of MMP-9 activity and VEGF production. Scientific Reports volume 4, Article number: 6994. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep06994