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Lingonberry

Chinese: 越橘

Pinyin: Yuè Jú

Parts used: Dry leaves and fruits

TCM category: Herbs that drain Dampness

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterPungentSweet

Organ affinity: Gallbladder Stomach Kidney Large intestine

Scientific name: Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Other names: Partridgeberry, Mountain cranberry, Cowberry

Use of lingonberry (Yue Ju) 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: Collects leaves and fruits and dry.

Dosage: 3 to 9 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Drain Dampness and facilitates urination. Detoxifies and clears Heat.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which lingonberry may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Urethritis Vaginitis Enteritis Dysentery

Key TCM concepts behind lingonberry (Yue Ju)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lingonberry are plants that belong 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 lingonberry are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that lingonberry tend 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 lingonberry can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Lingonberry also taste Bitter, Pungent and 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. Bitter ingredients like lingonberry tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Pungent ingredients tend 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. Lastly Sweet ingredients tend 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 lingonberry are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Stomach, the Kidney and the Large intestine. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. 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. 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. The Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces.