English: Garlic chive seeds

Chinese: 韭菜子

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, Jiu Zi

Use of Jiu Cai Zi (garlic chive seeds ) 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 Jiu Cai Zi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Impotence Spermatorrhea Knee pain Arthralgia Enuresis Leukorrhea Back pain Urinary incontinence

Common TCM formulas in which Jiu Cai Zi is used*

Zan Yu Dan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Formula key actions: Warms and tonifies the Kidneys.

Conditions targeted*: Erectile dysfunctionInfertility in male and others

Jiu Cai Zi is a king ingredient in Zan Yu Dan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Zan Yu Dan, Jiu Cai Zi tonify the Kidneys and strengthen the Kidney Yang.

Read more about Zan Yu Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Jiu Cai Zi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Jiu Cai Zi belongs 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 Jiu Cai Zi is Warm in nature. This means that Jiu Cai Zi tends 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 Jiu Cai Zi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Jiu Cai Zi also tastes 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 Jiu Cai Zi 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. 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 Jiu Cai Zi is 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 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 Jiu Cai Zi as food

Jiu Cai Zi is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Garlic Chive Blossom Pancake.