English: Lotus roots

Chinese: 藕节

Parts used: Dried rhizome node

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): SourSweet

Organ affinity: Liver Lung Stomach

Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera

Use of Ou Jie (lotus roots) 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 from the knots, wash and dry

Dosage: 6 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Stops bleeding and reduces swelling due to Heat in the Blood.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ou Jie may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Nosebleed Hematochezia Bloody sputum Hematemesis Hematuria

Common TCM formulas in which Ou Jie is used*

Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Source date: 1988

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Empty Heat. Tonifies the Kidney Yin. Stops bleeding. Supplies Body Fluids.

Conditions targeted*: MetrorrhagiaThreatened miscarriage and others

Ou Jie is an assistant ingredient in Qing Re Gu Jing Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, Ou Jie stops bleeding by astringing the leakage of Blood. It also clears Blood Stagnation and clear Blood Heat

Read more about Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Ou Jie's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ou Jie belongs to the 'Herbs that stop bleeding' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, meaning that they help stop various types of hemorrhages and echymosis. Unlike other herbs they often tend to be used externally.

Furthermore Ou Jie is Neutral in nature. This means that Ou Jie 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 Ou Jie means that you don't have to worry about that!

Ou Jie also tastes Sour and 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. Sour ingredients like Ou Jie helps with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of Fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend 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 Ou Jie is thought to target the Liver, the Lung 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. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish 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.

Research on Ou Jie

Lotus root exerts anti-oxidant and anti-obesity effects and could be used as a functional and nutraceutical ingredient in combatting obesity-related diseases.1

The tannins contained in lotus root can alleviate hepatic steatosis by suppressing the lipogenic enzyme activity in the livers of mice. Lotus root could therefore potentially be used to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.2


1. JS You, YJ Lee, KS Kim, SH Kim, KJ Chang (2014). Ethanol extract of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) root exhibits an anti-adipogenic effect in human pre-adipocytes and anti-obesity and anti-oxidant effects in rats fed a high-fat diet. Nutrition Research, 34(3), p. 258-267. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2014.01.003

2. Yumi Tsuruta, Koji Nagao, Shunichi Kai, Keisuke Tsuge, Takashi Yoshimura, Kazuyoshi Koganemaru and Teruyoshi Yanagita (2011). Polyphenolic extract of lotus root (edible rhizome of Nelumbo nucifera) alleviates hepatic steatosis in obese diabetic db/db mice. Lipids in Health and Disease, 10:202. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-10-202

Use of Ou Jie as food

Ou Jie is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Stir-Fried Lotus Root or Kung Pao Lotus Root.