English: Hyacinth bean flowers

Chinese: 扁豆花

Parts used: The flowers, dried

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach

Scientific name: Dolichos lablab

Other names: Dolichos flowers, Lablab flowers

Use of Bian Dou Hua (hyacinth bean flowers) 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: Harvest the flowers when they are not yet fully open and dry them in the sun or in the shade.

Dosage: 3-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Relieves Heat and Dampness. Invigorate the Spleen.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Bian Dou Hua may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Diarrhea Dysentery Traumatic swelling Fever Leukorrhea

Common TCM formulas in which Bian Dou Hua is used*

Qing Luo Yin

Source date: 1798

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Resolves Summer-Heat. Clears the Lungs.

Conditions targeted*: HyperthermiaHeatstroke and others

Bian Dou Hua is a deputy ingredient in Qing Luo Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Qing Luo Yin, Bian Dou Hua clears and disperses Summer-Heat while strengthening the Spleen and harmonizing the Stomach.

Read more about Qing Luo Yin

Key TCM concepts behind Bian Dou Hua's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bian Dou Hua belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness' 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 clear Heat and dry Dampness treat the latter while, at the same time, relieving the body of excess Dampness. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Bian Dou Hua is Neutral in nature. This means that Bian Dou Hua typically doesn'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 Bian Dou Hua means that you don't have to worry about that!

Bian Dou Hua 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 Bian Dou Hua 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 Bian Dou Hua is thought to target the Spleen and the Stomach. 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.