English: Gentian roots
Parts used: Dried root
TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness
TCM nature: Cool
Organ affinity: Gallbladder Stomach Liver
Scientific name: Gentiana macrophylla, Gentiana straminea, Gentiana crassicaulis or Gentiana dahurica
Other names: Large Leaf Gentian
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: Clean the root and dry it, ideally under the sun
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears either acute or chronic, Cold or Hot Wind-Damp conditions. Clears Heat from Yin Deficiency. Lubricates the Intestines and promotes bowel movements.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Qin Jiao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Rheumatoid arthritis Joint pain Fever Hepatitis Jaundice
Contraindications*: Not for conditions of frequent urination and pain in weak and Deficient individuals, especially when there is Spleen-Deficient diarrhea.
Source date: Yuan dynasty
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Enriches the Yin. Nourishes the Blood. Clears Heat. Alleviates steaming bone disorder .
Conditions targeted*: TuberculosisFevers of unkonw origin and others
Qin Jiao is a king ingredient in Qin Jiao Bie Jia San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Qin Jiao Bie Jia San, Qin Jiao is acrid and bitter. It treats Wind, no matter it is old or new. It clears Heat while enriching the Yin and dispels Wind while supporting the normal Qi.
It also enters into the vessels as well as the collaterals and opens up areas of clumps in the Interior and Exterior.
Source date: 650 AD
Number of ingredients: 15 herbs
Formula key actions: Anti-rheumatic, clears Wind, Cold and Damp Stagnation. Strengthens the function of the Liver and Kidney. Tonifies Qi and Blood.
Conditions targeted*: Chronic lower back painSciatica and others
Qin Jiao is a deputy ingredient in Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, Qin Jiao relaxes the sinews and expels the Wind and Dampness.
Source date: 1830
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Unblocks painful obstruction. Relieves pain. Invigorate Qi. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Unblock Channels.
Conditions targeted*: Muscle crampsArthralgia and others
Qin Jiao is a deputy ingredient in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, Qin Jiao expels Wind Damp.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qin Jiao belongs to the 'Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness' category. These herbs typically help treat what's called 'bi pain' (i.e. painful obstruction) in TCM. This roughly corresponds to arthritic and rheumatic conditions with pain, stiffness and numbness of the bones, joints and muscles.
Furthermore Qin Jiao is Cool in nature. This means that Qin Jiao tends to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Qin Jiao can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Qin Jiao 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 Qin Jiao 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 Qin Jiao is thought to target the Gallbladder, the Stomach and the Liver. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. 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 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.