Zi He Che (Human placentas) in Chinese Medicine

English: Human placentas

Chinese: 紫河车

Parts used: Dried placenta of a healthy women

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): SaltySweet

Organ affinity: Heart Kidney Liver Lung

Scientific name: Hominis Placenta

Use of Zi He Che (human placentas) 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: After a healthy woman gives birth, the placenta is kept and dried instead of being discarded.

Dosage: 1.5 - 4.5 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys and assists the Essence. Tonifies the Qi and Blood.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Zi He Che may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Infertility Impotence Tinnitus Chronic lower back pain Seminal emission Vertigo Fatigue Chronic cough and wheezing Low milk supply Dyspnea Anorexia Tidal fever Dizziness

Contraindications*: The use of human placenta is very safe but should be used with caution when there is Heat from Yin Deficiency and for prolonged use.

Common TCM formulas in which Zi He Che is used*

He Che Da Zao Wan

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Tonifies the Kidneys. Strengthens the Directing and Penetrating Vessels. Regulates the periods.

Zi He Che is a king ingredient in He Che Da Zao Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In He Che Da Zao Wan, Zi He Che

nourishes the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Read more about He Che Da Zao Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Zi He Che's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Zi He Che belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore Zi He Che is Warm in nature. This means that Zi He Che 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 Zi He Che can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Zi He Che also tastes Salty 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. Salty ingredients like Zi He Che tends to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps. 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 Zi He Che is thought to target the Heart, the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. 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 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.

Use of Zi He Che as food

Zi He Che is also eaten as food.