Loquat leaves

Chinese: 枇杷叶

Pinyin: Pí Pá Yè

Parts used: Dried leaves

TCM category: Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: StomachLung

Scientific name: Eriobotrya japonica

Other names: Japanese medlar, Japanese plum or Chinese plum

Use of loquat leaves (Pi Pa Ye) 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: Collect the leaves and dry.

Dosage: 6-15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Expels hot phlegm in the Lungs and redirects rebellious Lung Qi. Cools stomach Heat and redirects rebellious Stomach Qi. Relieves cough and vomiting.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which loquat leaves may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Dyspnea Vomiting Fever Bronchitis Excessive thirst Coughing

Common TCM formulas in which loquat leaves are used*:

Key TCM concepts behind loquat leaves (Pi Pa Ye)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), loquat leaves are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing' category. In TCM Phlegm is a condition of Stagnation of Fluids which tends to start in the Spleen and then goes to the Lungs. If this overly accumulates it thickens and becomes pathological Phlegm. Phlegm, being a form of Stagnation, often starts as being Cool and transforms to Hot as the condition progresses. Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing treat branch symptoms of this Stagnation and tend to have antitussive, expectorant, diuretic or laxative properties.

Furthermore loquat leaves are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that loquat leaves tend to help people who have too much "heat" in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. 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 loquat leaves can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Loquat leaves also taste Bitter. 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 loquat leaves tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing heat, drying dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such loquat leaves are thought to target the Stomach 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. 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 loquat leaves (Pi Pa Ye)

A study on rabbits has shown that Loquat leaves exhibit anti-inflammatory activity, have anti-viral properties and a significant hypoglycemic effect.1

Sources:

1. Nunziatina De Tommasi, Francesco De Simone, Cosimo Pizza, Naheed Mahmood, Patrick S. Moore, Cinzia Conti, Nicola Orsi, and Maria L. Stein (1992). Constituents of Eriobotrya japonica. A Study of Their Antiviral Properties. Journal of Natural Products 55 (8), 1067-1073. DOI: 10.1021/np50086a006