English: Mulberry Mistletoe

Chinese: 桑寄生

Parts used: Dried stem and branch with leaf

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Taxillus chinensis

Other names: Loranthus parasiticum

Use of Sang Ji Sheng (mulberry mistletoe) 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: Wash the stems, branches and leaves and let them dry under the sun

Dosage: 9 - 30 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Liver and the Kidneys. Strengthens the tendons and bones. Relieves rheumatic conditions. Lowers hypertension.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Sang Ji Sheng may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Joint pain Rheumatism Numbness of limbs Hypertension Rheumatic athralgia Abnormal uterine bleeding Menorrhagia Uterine bleeding during pregnancy

Contraindications*: Overly large doses can be toxic.

Common TCM formulas in which Sang Ji Sheng is used*

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 15 herbs

Formula key actions: Anti-rheumatic, clears Wind, Cold and Damp Stagnation. Strengthens the function of the Liver and Kidney. Tonifies Qi and Blood.

Conditions targeted*: Chronic lower back painSciatica and others

Sang Ji Sheng is an assistant ingredient in Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, Sang Ji Sheng works together with Achyranthes root (Niu Xi) and Unprepared Rehmannia (Sheng Di Huang), other assistants in this formula, to expel Wind-Dampness and tonify the Liver and Kidneys.

Read more about Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang

Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Source date: 1958 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Calms the Liver. Extinguishes wind. Invigorates the blood. Clears heat. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys.

Conditions targeted*: InsomniaHeadache and others

Sang Ji Sheng is an assistant ingredient in Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, Sang Ji Sheng tonifies and nourishes the Liver and Kidneys in order to reinforce the root.

Read more about Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin

Key TCM concepts behind Sang Ji Sheng's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Sang Ji Sheng belongs to the 'Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness' category. These herbs typically help treat what's called 'bi pain' (i.e. painful obstruction) in TCM. This roughly corresponds to arthritic and rheumatic conditions with pain, stiffness and numbness of the bones, joints and muscles.

Furthermore Sang Ji Sheng is Neutral in nature. This means that Sang Ji Sheng 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 Sang Ji Sheng means that you don't have to worry about that!

Sang Ji Sheng also tastes Bitter 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. Bitter ingredients like Sang Ji Sheng tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. 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 Sang Ji Sheng is thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver on the other hand 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.

Research on Sang Ji Sheng

The avicularin existing in parasitic ioranthus [Taxillus chinensis (dc.) danser] can potently inhibit fatty acid synthase.1


1. Wang Y, Zhang S, Ma X, Tian W. (2006) Potent inhibition of fatty acid synthase by parasitic ioranthus [Taxillus chinensis (dc.) danser] and its constituent avicularin. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 21(1):87-93