English: Goji tree root bark

Chinese: 地骨皮

Parts used: Dried root bark

TCM category: Herbs that cool the Blood

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver Lung

Scientific name: Lycium chinense or Lycium barbarum

Other names: Chinese wolfberry root-bark, Lycium root-bark

Use of Di Gu Pi (goji tree root bark) 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: 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

Common TCM formulas in which Di Gu Pi is used*

Qing Jing San

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

clears Heat

Read more about Qing Jing San

Di Gu Pi Yin

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.

In Di Gu Pi Yin, Di Gu Pi clears Empty Heat and cools Blood

Read more about Di Gu Pi Yin

Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Source date: 1988

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Empty Heat. Tonifies the Kidney Yin. Stops bleeding. Supplies Body Fluids.

Conditions targeted*: MetrorrhagiaThreatened miscarriage and others

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

Read more about Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Liang Di Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes Yin. Cools Blood. Stop bleeding.

In Liang Di Tang, Di Gu Pi clears Empty Heat

Read more about Liang Di Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Di Gu Pi's properties

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.

Research on Di Gu Pi

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