English: Fleeceflower stems

Chinese: 夜交藤

Parts used: Dried lianoid stem

TCM category: Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Polygonum multiflorum

Other names: Shou Wu Teng

Use of Ye Jiao Teng (fleeceflower stems) 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: Harvest the leafy stem, remove the leaves, tie into a bundle and let it dry.

Dosage: 9 - 30 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Nourishes the Heart Blood and calms the spirit. Tonifies Blood, improves circulation and dispels Wind. Applied externally, it relieves itches and rashes.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ye Jiao Teng may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Palpitations Insomnia Restlessness Sore and aching limbs Itchy rashes Rheumatic athralgia

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with diarrhea.

Common TCM formulas in which Ye Jiao Teng is used*

Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Source date: 1958 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Calms the Liver. Extinguishes wind. Invigorates the blood. Clears heat. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys.

Conditions targeted*: InsomniaHeadache and others

Ye Jiao Teng is an assistant ingredient in Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, Ye Jiao Teng calms the spirit and stabilizes the will. It is effective for restlessness and insomnia which are the typical symptoms of Liver Yang Rising.

Read more about Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Zhen Xin An Shen Tang

Source date: 1985 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Anchors the Heart and calms the Mind.

Conditions targeted*: Neurotic insomniaDreamdisturbed sleep and others

Read more about Zhen Xin An Shen Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Ye Jiao Teng's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ye Jiao Teng belongs to the 'Herbs that nourish the Heart and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the Mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by tonifying Heart Yin and Blood as in TCM it is believed that the Heart is the store of the Mind.

Furthermore Ye Jiao Teng is Neutral in nature. This means that Ye Jiao Teng 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 Ye Jiao Teng means that you don't have to worry about that!

Ye Jiao Teng 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 Ye Jiao Teng 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 Ye Jiao Teng is thought to target the Heart and the Liver. 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. The Liver on the other hand 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.