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 impurities and residual roots, wash, cut into sections and dry
Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and aids thirst. Aids urination and drains Damp-Heat.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by pregnant women.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 8 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Damp-Heat. Disseminates the Qi. Facilitates the Qi mechanisms.
Dan Zhu Ye is a deputy ingredient in San Ren Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
Source date: 1613 AD
Number of ingredients: 11 herbs
Formula key actions: Releases the Exterior. Vents rashes. Clears. Generates Body Fluids.
Dan Zhu Ye is a deputy ingredient in Zhu Ye Cheng Liu Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Zhu Ye Cheng Liu Tang, Dan Zhu Ye clears Heat from the Heart via the urine. It thereby eliminates irritability but without damaging the Body Fluids, and prevents Toxic-Heat from sinking into the Pericardium.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 7 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Generates Body Fluids. Strengthens and regulates Qi.
Dan Zhu Ye is a deputy ingredient in Zhu Ye Shi Gao Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Dan Zhu Ye belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.
As suggested by its category Dan Zhu Ye is Cold in nature. This means that Dan Zhu Ye 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 Dan Zhu Ye can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Dan Zhu Ye 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 Dan Zhu Ye 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 Dan Zhu Ye is thought to target the Heart, the Small intestine and the Stomach. 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. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine. 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.
Pharmacological studies demonstrated that the extracts of the leaves of L. gracile showed antipyretic, diuretic, antibacterial, antitumor, and hyperglycemic activities.1
1. Xiao PG. Modern Chinese Materia Medica, Vol. 3. Beijing: Chemical Industry Press; 2002: 335–338
Dan Zhu Ye is also eaten as food.