English: Fameflower roots

Chinese: 土人参

Parts used: Dried root

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Kidney Lung

Scientific name: Talinum paniculatum

Other names: Jewels of Opar or Pink baby's-breath

Use of Tu Ren Shen (fameflower roots) 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 from the roots, wash, soak in water, remove bark, steam and dry.

Dosage: 25 - 50 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Supplies Qi, moistens the Lung and promotes the generation of body Fluids.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Tu Ren Shen may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Fatigue Coughing Low milk supply Bloody sputum Irregular menstruation Leukorrhea

Key TCM concepts behind Tu Ren Shen's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tu Ren Shen belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Qi tonics are typically sweet and they tend to enter the Spleen and Lungs because these Organs are most involved with the production of Qi.

Furthermore Tu Ren Shen is Neutral in nature. This means that Tu Ren Shen 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 Tu Ren Shen means that you don't have to worry about that!

Tu Ren Shen also tastes 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. Sweet ingredients like Tu Ren Shen tends 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 Tu Ren Shen is thought to target the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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. 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 Tu Ren Shen

T. paniculatum extracts possess estrogenic activity in rats, which can be helpful in managing reproductive tissues regression during menopause in a natural way through herbal resources without any toxicity.1


1. Catthareeya T., Pittaya P., Suthida C., Sajeera K. (2013). Talinum Paniculatum (Jacq.) Gertn: a medicinal plant with potential estrogenic activity in ovariectomized rats. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 5, Issue 2