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Mulberry twigs

Chinese: 桑枝

Pinyin: Sāng Zhī

Parts used: Dry twigs

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Liver

Scientific name: Mori alba

Use of mulberry twigs (Sang Zhi) 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, wash, cut, and dry.

Dosage: 9 to 15 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Relieves pain and numbness due to obstruction of Wind Dampness. Improves motility of joints. Facilitates urination.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which mulberry twigs may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Joint pain Edema High blood pressure Joint numbness Urinary difficulties

Key TCM concepts behind mulberry twigs (Sang Zhi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mulberry twigs are plants that belong 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 mulberry twigs are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that mulberry twigs 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 mulberry twigs can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Mulberry twigs also taste 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 mulberry twigs 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 mulberry twigs are thought to target the Liver. 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.