English: Glutinous rice

Chinese: 糯米

Parts used: The seeds

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach Lung

Scientific name: Oryza sativa

Other names: Sticky rice, Sweet rice, Waxy rice, Chinese sticky rice

Use of Nuo Mi (glutinous rice) 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: Collects the seeds (the rice), removes the shells and store in dry environment.

Dosage: 50-100g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Qi and the Middle. Strengthens the Spleen and warms the Stomach. Protect the Exterior and stop sweating.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Nuo Mi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Loss of appetite Diarrhea Spontaneous sweating Nausea

Common TCM formulas in which Nuo Mi is used*

Bu Fei E Jiao Tang

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Controls coughing. Stops bleeding. Tonifies the Lungs.

Conditions targeted*: Chronic bronchitisBronchiectasis and others

Nuo Mi is an assistant ingredient in Bu Fei E Jiao Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Bu Fei E Jiao Tang, Nuo Mi tonifies the Spleen and benefit the Lungs.

The combination of Glutinous rice and Liquorice  cultivates the earth (Spleen) to generate metal (Lungs) in order to tonify the Lungs and prevents
the other herbs from disrupting the digestive process.

Read more about Bu Fei E Jiao Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Nuo Mi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Nuo Mi belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Qi tonics are typically sweet and they tend to enter the Spleen and Lungs because these Organs are most involved with the production of Qi.

Furthermore Nuo Mi is Warm in nature. This means that Nuo Mi 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 Nuo Mi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Nuo Mi also tastes 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. Sweet ingredients like Nuo Mi tends 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 Nuo Mi is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung. 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. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.