English: Giant Typhonium rhizomes

Chinese: 白附子

Parts used: Rhizome

TCM category: Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): PungentSweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach Liver

Scientific name: Typhonium giganteum

Other names: Typhonium, Du Jiao Lian,

Use of Bai Fu Zi (giant typhonium rhizomes) 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: Collect the rhizome, remove impurities and skins and dry.

Dosage: 1.5-6g

Main actions according to TCM*: Dries Dampness and transforms Phlegm. Dispels Wind and relieves spasms. Disperses hard lumps and nodules so as to relieve pain. Detoxifies.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Bai Fu Zi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Wind stroke Facial paralysis Bell's palsy Hemiplegia Migraine headaches Epilepsy Tetanus Swollen glands Snake bites Venomous bite

Contraindications*: Raw herbs is toxic and need to be prepared for use. Use with caution during pregnancy.

Key TCM concepts behind Bai Fu Zi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bai Fu Zi belongs to the 'Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. The herbs in this category are Warm in nature so they treat the early stages of the Stagnation: Cold-Phlegm and Wet-Phlegm with symptoms of wheezing, vomiting and nausea.

As suggested by its category Bai Fu Zi is Warm in nature. This means that Bai Fu 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 Bai Fu Zi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Bai Fu 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 Bai Fu 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 Bai Fu Zi is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.