English: Katsumada Galangal Seeds

Chinese: 草豆蔻

Parts used: Seeds

TCM category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach

Scientific name: Alpiniae Katsumadai Semen

Other names: Cardamon seed, Katsumadai, Alpinia Katsumadai

Use of Cao Dou Kou (katsumada galangal seeds) 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: Collect the seeds, remove impurities and dry

Dosage: 1.5-7g

Main actions according to TCM*: Dries Dampness. Warms the Middle Burner and promote Qi circulation in the middle. Strengthens the Spleen and stops vomiting.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Cao Dou Kou may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Vomiting Abdominal distension Abdominal pain Epigastric pain Epigastric distention Diarrhea

Contraindications*: Not suitable for people with Yin or Blood Deficiency.

Key TCM concepts behind Cao Dou Kou's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Cao Dou Kou belongs to the 'Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness' category. This category of herbs resolves a TCM condition called 'Cold Damp Stagnation', especially as it affects the Stomach and Spleen. In modern medicine this often translates into symptoms such as distended chest and abdomen, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting

As suggested by its category Cao Dou Kou is Warm in nature. This means that Cao Dou Kou 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 Cao Dou Kou can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Cao Dou Kou also tastes Pungent. 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. Pungent ingredients like Cao Dou Kou tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Cao Dou Kou 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.