English: Muttons

Chinese: 羊肉

Parts used: Meat

TCM category: Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach Kidney

Scientific name: Capra hircus Linnaeus or Ovis aries Linnaeus

Other names: Lamb

Use of Yang Rou (muttons) 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: Steam, stew etc

Dosage: 125-250g

Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the Stomach and the Middle Burner. Tonifies Qi.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Yang Rou may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Loss of appetite Weak back Knee weakness Impotence Frequent urination Low milk supply Postpartum weakness Dysentery

Contraindications*: Not for these patients what Heat Excess.

Common TCM formulas in which Yang Rou is used*

Dang Gui Sheng Jiang Yang Rou Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula key actions: Warms the Interior. Nourishes the Blood. Alleviates Pain.

Conditions targeted*: Postpartum weaknessHernia and others

Yang Rou is a king ingredient in Dang Gui Sheng Jiang Yang Rou Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Dang Gui Sheng Jiang Yang Rou Tang, Yang Rou is heating, sweet, and acrid in nature. Mutton strongly tonifies the Fire at the gate of vitality, nourishes the Blood, and augments the Qi.

Read more about Dang Gui Sheng Jiang Yang Rou Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Yang Rou's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Yang Rou belongs to the 'Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold' category. Herbs in this category are used for Internal Cold with Qi Deficiency and/or Yang Deficiency. In the Yin and Yang system of thought Yang is Hot in nature. A deficiency of Yang will therefore lead to Internal Coldness since there will as a result be more Yin (Cold in nature) than Yang. In extreme cases this can lead to so-called 'Yang collapse' with convulsions or coma and these herbs are particularly indicated to treat such scenarios.

As suggested by its category Yang Rou is Warm in nature. This means that Yang Rou tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Yang Rou can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Yang Rou also tastes 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. Sweet ingredients like Yang Rou tends 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 Yang Rou is thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Kidney. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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.