English: Japanese climbing fern spores

Chinese: 海金沙

Parts used: Dried ripe spores

TCM category: Herbs that drain Dampness

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Bladder Small intestine

Scientific name: Lygodium japonicum

Other names: Lygodium Spore, Japanese fern, Spora Lygodii

Use of Hai Jin Sha (japanese climbing fern spores) 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 vine leaves in autumn when the spores have not yet fallen, dry them in the sun, rub or beat off the spores, and remove the vine leaves.

Dosage: 6-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Promotes urination and clears Heat. Unblock painful urinary dysfunctions and expels stones. Clear Damp-Heat from the Spleen and reduces Edema and jaundice.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Hai Jin Sha may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Biliary stones Jaundice Edema Acute and chronic prostatitis Hypertrophy of the prostate gland Cystitis Urethritis Painful urination Blood in urine Turbit urine Foam in urine Abdominal distension

Contraindications*: Not recommended for these with Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind Hai Jin Sha's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Hai Jin Sha belongs to the 'Herbs that drain Dampness' category. These herbs are typically diuretics, meaning that they promotes the increased production of urine in order to remove Dampness that has accumulated in the body. According to TCM Dampness accumulates first in the lower limbs, causing edema and impaired movement. From there, if unchecked, it can move upward and impair digestion and eventually the respiratory system.

Furthermore Hai Jin Sha is Cold in nature. This means that Hai Jin Sha 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 Hai Jin Sha can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Hai Jin Sha 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 Hai Jin Sha 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 Hai Jin Sha is thought to target the Bladder and the Small intestine. In TCM the impure water collected by the Kidneys that cannot be used by the body is sent to the Bladder for storage and excretion as urine. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine.