English: Lophatherum herbs

Chinese: 淡竹叶

Parts used: Dried stem and leaf

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Heart Small intestine Stomach

Scientific name: Lophatherum gracile

Other names: Bamboo leaf

Use of Dan Zhu Ye (lophatherum herbs) 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: Remove impurities and residual roots, wash, cut into sections and dry

Dosage: 6-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and aids thirst. Aids urination and drains Damp-Heat.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Dan Zhu Ye may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Mouth ulcers Dysuria Restlessness Fever

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by pregnant women.

Common TCM formulas in which Dan Zhu Ye is used*

San Ren Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Damp-Heat. Disseminates the Qi. Facilitates the Qi mechanisms.

Conditions targeted*: TyphoidPyelonephritis and others

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.

In San Ren Tang, Dan Zhu Ye resolves Dampness by promoting urination and it clears Heat. It also vents pathogenic Heat through the Exterior.

Read more about San Ren Tang

Qing Ying Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears the Nutritive level Heat. Relieves Fire Toxin. Removes Heat. Nourishes Yin.

Conditions targeted*: Encephalitis BMeningitis and others

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Qing Ying Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Qing Ying Tang, Dan Zhu Ye is light and it clears Heat and resolve Toxin like Honeysuckle flowers and Forsythia fruit. 

On top of that, it also works with Goldthread rhizome to clear Heat from the Heart. 

Read more about Qing Ying Tang

Dao Chi San

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears the Heart. Promotes urination.

Conditions targeted*: StomatitisOral thrush and others

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Dao Chi San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Dao Chi San, Dan Zhu Ye is used to alleviate irritability by clearing Heat from the Heart.

Read more about Dao Chi San

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Conditions targeted*: Common coldInfluenza and others

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Yin Qiao San. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Yin Qiao San, Dan Zhu Ye creates Body Fluids and alleviates thirst.

Read more about Yin Qiao San

Qing Luo Yin

Source date: 1798

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Resolves Summer-Heat. Clears the Lungs.

Conditions targeted*: HyperthermiaHeatstroke and others

Dan Zhu Ye is an assistant ingredient in Qing Luo Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Qing Luo Yin, Dan Zhu Ye clears the Heart and promotes the smooth functioning of the water pathways.

Read more about Qing Luo Yin

Key TCM concepts behind Dan Zhu Ye's properties

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.

Research on Dan Zhu Ye

Pharmacological studies demonstrated that the extracts of the leaves of L. gracile showed antipyretic, diuretic, antibacterial, antitumor, and hyperglycemic activities.1

Sources:

1. Xiao PG. Modern Chinese Materia Medica, Vol. 3. Beijing: Chemical Industry Press; 2002: 335–338

Use of Dan Zhu Ye as food

Dan Zhu Ye is also eaten as food.