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 and dry the fruit
Dosage: 3 - 6 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the Spleen, expels Cold, relieves pain and helps the Liver. Directs Rebellious Qi downward
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Wu Zhu Yu may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Headache Abdominal colic Weakness and edema of legs Dysmenorrhea Epigastric pain Epigastric distention Acid reflux Vomiting Hypertension Mouth ulcers
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yin Deficiency, especially if Dryness is an issue, as this herb is very Drying and therefore should not be used for extended periods of time. It should not be used with Red sage root (Dan Shen).
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Formula key actions: Warms the Uterus and vessels. Nourishes Blood. Dispels Cold. Dispels Blood Stagnation.
Wu Zhu Yu is a king ingredient in Wen Jing Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1481 AD
Number of ingredients: 2 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Liver Heat. Directs Rebellious Qi downward. Stops vomiting.
Wu Zhu Yu is a deputy ingredient in Zuo Jin Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Zuo Jin Wan, Wu Zhu Yu is hot and acrid. It helps with Qi movement and releases Stagnation by dispersing the Liver. It is also very effective in directing Rebellious Stomach Qi downward. Like the king herb Huang Lian, it thereby also kills two birds with one stone.
The hot nature of Wu Zhu Yu is moderated by the cold nature of Huang Lian, whose dosage is six times that of Wu Zhu Yu. The acrid nature of Wu Zhu Yu, on the other hand, ensures that physiological Fire is not drained by the bitter, cold, downward-moving nature of Huang Lian.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Wu Zhu Yu belongs to the 'Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold' category. Herbs in this category are used for Internal Cold with Qi Deficiency and/or Yang Deficiency. In the Yin and Yang system of thought Yang is Hot in nature. A deficiency of Yang will therefore lead to Internal Coldness since there will as a result be more Yin (Cold in nature) than Yang. In extreme cases this can lead to so-called 'Yang collapse' with convulsions or coma and these herbs are particularly indicated to treat such scenarios.
As suggested by its category Wu Zhu Yu is Hot in nature. This means that Wu Zhu Yu typically helps 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 Wu Zhu Yu can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Wu Zhu Yu also tastes Bitter and 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. Bitter ingredients like Wu Zhu Yu 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 Pungent ingredients 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 Wu Zhu Yu is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach, the Kidney and the Liver. 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. 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.
Evodiamine (the active principle in Evodia fruits) possesses anti-cancer activities both in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting proliferation, invasion and metastasis, inducing apoptosis of a variety of tumor cell lines.1
1. Jiang J, Hu C. (2009). Evodiamine: a novel anti-cancer alkaloid from Evodia rutaecarpa. Molecules. , 14(5):1852-9. doi: 10.3390/molecules14051852.