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: Remove the smaller roots, soak in water, slice and dry
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Warms and stimulates the flow of Qi and relieves pain. Disperses Cold and Warms the Kidneys.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Qi Deficiency or Interior Heat.
Source date: 1336 AD
Number of ingredients: 9 herbs
Formula key actions: Pacifies the Liver. Moves Qi. Stops pain. Nourishes Liver Blood. Eliminates Stagnation.
Wu Yao is a king ingredient in Wu Yao Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Wu Yao Tang, Wu Yao smoothes the flow of Qi, disperses Cold, and alleviates pain. It directs rebellious Qi downward to help relieve Excess symptoms in the chest, disperses Cold to address the cause of the Stagnation, and alleviates pain to treat the symptoms. If Wu Yao is better at directing the Qi downward, Xiang Fu is better at raising and lifting the Qi. If the former is better at eliminating Cold, the latter is better at resolving constraint due to emotional factors. Their combination thus addresses the blockage of Qi within both the Qi and Blood levels, releases constraint from both the Liver and Gallbladder, directs rebellious Qi in the chest and abdomen downward, and warms the flow of Qi, which has been slowed by pathogenic Cold.
Source date: 1253 AD
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Formula key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Directs rebellious Qi downward. Expands the chest and dissipates clumping.
Wu Yao is a king ingredient in Si Mo Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Si Mo Tang, Wu Yao enter all twelve Channels where it promotes both the ascent and descent of Qi
Source date: 1624 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Warms the Liver and Kidneys. Promotes the movement of Qi. Alleviates pain.
Wu Yao is a deputy ingredient in Nuan Gan Jian. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Nuan Gan Jian, Wu Yao enhances the actions of the key herbs by promoting the movement of Qi and alleviating pain, especially in the lower abdomen.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Wu Yao belongs to the 'Herbs that regulate Qi' category. Herbs in this category typically treat a TCM condition called 'Qi Stagnation'. Concretely it means that Qi is blocked in the body's Organs and Meridians, most typically the Stomach, Liver, and to a lesser extent, the Lungs. In modern medicine terms, Qi Stagnation often translates into psychological consequences such as depression, irritability or mood swings. It's also frequently associated with conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, the development of breast swellings as well as various digestive disorders.
Furthermore Wu Yao is Warm in nature. This means that Wu Yao 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 Wu Yao can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Wu Yao 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 Wu Yao 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 Wu Yao is thought to target the Bladder, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen. 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. 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. 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. The Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body.
Lindera aggregata contains a compound that has cytoprotective action against ethanol-induced gastric injury in mice and might thus have the same effect in humans.1.
1. Zhu, M.; Luk, C. T.; Lew, T. H. (1998). "Cytoprotective Effect of Lindera aggregata Roots Against Ethanol-Induced Acute Gastric Injury". Pharmaceutical Biology. 36 (3): 222–226. doi:10.1076/phbi.22.214.171.12449