Glossy privet fruits

Chinese: 女贞子

Pinyin: Nǚ Zhēn Zi

Parts used: Dried fruit

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: KidneyLiver

Scientific name: Ligustrum lucidum

Other names: Broad-leaf privet fruit, Chinese privet fruit, Tree privet fruit, Wax-leaf privet fruit

Use of glossy privet fruits (Nǚ Zhēn 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 practitionner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Remove impurities, wash and dry.

Dosage: 6 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Nourishes Yin of the Liver and Kidneys. Clears Yin Deficiency Heat (False Heat). Brightens the eyes and reduce premature graying hair.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which glossy privet fruits may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Tinnitus Knee pain Premature graying Impaired vision Back pain

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yang Deficiency of the Spleen with Cold and diarrhea.

Common TCM formulas in which glossy privet fruits are used*:

Key TCM concepts behind glossy privet fruits' properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), glossy privet fruits are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a 'burn-out', unfortunately more and more common among people today. It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!

Furthermore glossy privet fruits are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that glossy privet fruits typically don'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 glossy privet fruits means that you don't have to worry about that!

Glossy privet fruits also taste Bitter and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like glossy privet fruits tend 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 glossy privet fruits 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 body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on glossy privet fruits

Jiangtang Bushen Recipe (composed of Glossy Privet Fruit) can improve insulin resistance and alleviate clinical symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.1

Sources:

1. Fan GJ, Tang XY, Li SL. (2006). Effects of Jiangtang Bushen Recipe on serum C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi, 26(4):329-31.