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Garlic chive seeds

Chinese: 韭菜子

Pinyin: Jiǔ Cài Zǐ

Parts used: Dried ripe seeds

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): PungentSweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Allium tuberosum

Other names: Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chive or Chinese leek

Use of garlic chive seeds (Jiu Cai Zi) 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 vegetable and dry under the sun. Collect the seeds and remove impurities.

Dosage: 3 - 9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Warms and tonifies both Kidney and Liver. Invigorates the Yang and retains body Fluids.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which garlic chive seeds may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Impotence Spermatorrhea Knee pain Arthralgia Enuresis Leukorrhea Back pain Urinary incontinence

Key TCM concepts behind garlic chive seeds (Jiu Cai Zi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), garlic chive seeds are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore garlic chive seeds are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that garlic chive seeds tend to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. 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 garlic chive seeds can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Garlic chive seeds also taste Pungent 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. Pungent ingredients like garlic chive seeds 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. 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 garlic chive seeds are thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, 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 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.

Research on garlic chive seeds (Jiu Cai Zi)

There is experimental evidence that the extract of Allium tuberosum seeds possesses aphrodisiac properties.1


1. Hu Guohua, Lu Yanhua, Mao Rengang, Wei Dongzhi, Ma Zhengzhi, Zhang Hua (2009). Aphrodisiac properties of Allium tuberosum seeds extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 122, Issue 3, Pages 579-582. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2009.01.018.

Use of garlic chive seeds (Jiu Cai Zi) as food

Garlic chive seeds are also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Garlic Chive Blossom Pancake.