Long-stamen onion bulbs

Chinese: 薤白

Pinyin: Xiè Bái

Parts used: Dried bulb

TCM category: Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterPungent

Meridian affinity: StomachLarge intestineLung

Scientific name: Allium macrostemon or Allium chinensis

Other names: Long-stamen chive

Use of long-stamen onion bulbs (Xiè Bái) 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 practitionner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Wash the bulb, remove the fibrous roots, steam or boil it quickly in water, dry it

Dosage: 5 - 10g

Main actions according to TCM*: Removes Phlegm from the chest. Promote the flow of Qi and relieves Qi stagnation

Primary conditions or symptoms for which long-stamen onion bulbs may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Chest pain Chest congestion Dyspnea Phlegm Dysentery

Common TCM formulas in which long-stamen onion bulbs are used*:

Key TCM concepts behind long-stamen onion bulbs' properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), long-stamen onion bulbs are plants that belong to the 'Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior' category. Herbs that release the Exterior aim to to treat the early stages of diseases that affect the upper respiratory tract, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the throat or the skin. TCM believes that External diseases such as colds or allergies can only invade the body if the External environment overwhelms our Wei Qi (the TCM version of the immune system). In order to counteract this invasion Warm/Acrid herbs aim to induce sweating by increasing the flow of sweat to our capillary pores. The belief is that this will expel the disease from the body and stop it from invading further.

As suggested by its category long-stamen onion bulbs are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that long-stamen onion bulbs 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 long-stamen onion bulbs can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Long-stamen onion bulbs also taste Bitter and Pungent. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like long-stamen onion bulbs 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.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such long-stamen onion bulbs are thought to target the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Lung. In TCM the Stomach 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 Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the body fluids that nourish the body.

Research on long-stamen onion bulbs

Allii Macrostemonis Bulbus has been shown to possess good anticancer activities and related properties such as antioxidation, nitrite scavenging, nitrosamine synthesis blocking and immune enhancement, and has been widely used as an effective auxiliary drug in the treatment of some malignant tumors.1

ing damage to the liver) activities.2

Sources:

1. Lai QK, Tao RL, Zhao YJ, Zi RF, He Q. (2015). Advances in study of anticancer properties of Allii Macrostemonis Bulbus. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. , 40(24):4811-6.

Use of long-stamen onion bulbs as food

Long-stamen onion bulbs are also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Long-Stamen Chives & Eggs Stir Fry.