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: The leaf is slightly moistened with water, shredded and dried
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Relieves Summer Heat. Lifts the Spleen Yang. Halts bleeding caused by Heat or Stagnation.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used when there is a Cold Deficiency pattern.
Source date: 1798
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Resolves Summer-Heat. Clears the Lungs.
He Ye is a king ingredient in Qing Luo Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Qing Luo Yin, He Ye clears and cools Summer-Heat, facilitates the ascent of clear Yang, and is an important herb for treating head symptoms like dizziness, headache, and fuzziness due to Dampness obstructing the sensory orifices.
Source date: 1348g
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Cools the Blood and . Stops bleeding. Clears Heat and drains Fire.
He Ye is a deputy ingredient in Shi Hui San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Shi Hui San, He Ye , together with other deputy herbs, cools the Blood and stop bleeding.
Together with the key herbs, it clear the Heat that is the source of the bleeding problem while also stopping the bleeding.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He 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 He Ye is Neutral in nature. This means that He Ye typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of He Ye means that you don't have to worry about that!
He Ye also tastes Bitter. 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 He Ye tends 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 He Ye is thought to target the Liver, the Spleen and the Stomach. In TCM the Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. The Spleen on the other hand assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.
Some benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids were isolated from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera (Lotus), and identified as anti-HIV principles. These compounds can serve as new leads for further development of anti-AIDS agents.1
The pharmacological mechanism of the anti-obesity effect of Nelumbo nucifera leaves extract (NNE) were investigated on mice and rats. NNE impaired digestion, inhibited absorption of lipids and carbohydrates, accelerated lipid metabolism and up-regulated energy expenditure. Consequently, NNE is beneficial for the suppression of obesity.2
1. Y Kashiwada, A Aoshima, Y Ikeshiro, YP Chen et al (2005). "Anti-HIV benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera, and structure–activity correlations with related alkaloids" Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 443-448
2. Y Ono, E Hattori, Y Fukaya, S Imai, Y Ohizumi (2006). "Anti-obesity effect of Nelumbo nucifera leaves extract in mice and rats" Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 106, Issue 2, Pages 238-244
He Ye is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Lo Mai Gai (Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf).