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 bulb, strip its leaves, boil them quickly in water, dry them.
Dosage: 6 to 12g.
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and stops cough due to either Lung Yin Deficiency or Lung-Heat. Clears Heat from the Heart and calms the Spirit (Shen).
Contraindications*: Should not be used by those with Wind-Cold conditions when there is Phlegm, nor should it be used when there is Spleen Deficiency with diarrhea.
Source date: 1573 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Nourishes Lung and Kidney Yin. Lubricates the Lung and clears phlegm.
Bai He is a king ingredient in Bai He Gu Jin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1617
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Spreads Lung Qi. Clears Heat. Unblocks the orifices (specifically the nose) .
Bai He is a deputy ingredient in Xin Yi Qing Fei Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Dwarf lilyturf root and Lily bulb work together for this purpose.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bai He belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a 'burn-out', unfortunately more and more common among people today. It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!
Furthermore Bai He is Cold in nature. This means that Bai He 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 Bai He can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Bai He 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 Bai He 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 Bai He is thought to target the Heart 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. 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.
Lily bulbs from Lilium lancifolium have anti-inflammatory effects.1
1.OK Kwon, MY Lee, JE Yuk, SR Oh; et al (2010). Anti-inflammatory effects of methanol extracts of the root of Lilium lancifolium on LPS-stimulated Raw264.7 cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 130, Issue 1, Pages 28-34
Bai He is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Stir-fried lily bulb and celery.