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: Wash the root and remove impurities. Extract the bark from the root and dry it, preferably under the sun.
Dosage: 6 - 12 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Yin Deficient Heat;. Clears Lung Heat and stops cough. Cools the Blood when there is reckless movement of Blood. Drains Fire when Kidney Water is unable to control Fire.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Di Gu Pi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hemoptysis Nosebleed Night sweats Cough and wheezing with yellow sputum Blood in urine Bloody sputum Vomiting blood Toothache Diabetes mellitus Hypertension
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with weakness in the Spleen or Stomach. Also contraindicated in febrile illnesses due to exogenous Wind–Cold
Source date: 1826 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Blood-Heat. Stops bleeding.
Di Gu Pi is a king ingredient in Qing Jing San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Qing Jing San, Di Gu Pi
Source date: 1742 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Stops bleeding.
Di Gu Pi is a king ingredient in Di Gu Pi Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1988
Number of ingredients: 11 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Empty Heat. Tonifies the Kidney Yin. Stops bleeding. Supplies Body Fluids.
Di Gu Pi is a deputy ingredient in Qing Re Gu Jing Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, Di Gu Pi cools the Blood so as to stop bleeding by clears Empty-Heat due to Yin Deficiency.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Di Gu Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that cool the Blood' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that cool the Blood treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.
As suggested by its category Di Gu Pi is Cold in nature. This means that Di Gu Pi typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. 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 Di Gu Pi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Di Gu Pi 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 Di Gu Pi 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 Di Gu Pi is thought to target the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung. 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. 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.
Diabetic rats treated with ethanol extracts of Cortex Lycii Radicis had better improvement in insulin resistance1
Lycii Radicis Cortex (LRC) extract prevented OVX-induced bone mass density loss in mice2
1. Ye Z, Huang Q, Ni H, Wang D. (2008) Cortex Lycii Radicis extracts improve insulin resistance and lipid metabolism in obese-diabetic rats. Phytother Res. 22(12):1665-70
2. Park E, Jin H, Cho D, Kim J, Kim M, Choi C, Jin Y, Lee J, Park J, Chung Y, Huh D, Jeong S. (2014) The effect of Lycii Radicis Cortex extract on bone formation in vitro and in vivo. Molecules 19(12):119594-609