English: Pagoda tree flowers

Chinese: 槐花

Parts used: Dried flower or flower bud

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Sophora japonica or Styphnolobium japonicum

Other names: Sophora flowers

Use of Huai Hua (pagoda tree flowers) 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 and dry

Dosage: 5 - 10g

Main actions according to TCM*: Cools the Blood to stop bleeding and eliminates excessive Fire in the Liver

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Huai Hua may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hematochezia Dysentery Bloody sputum Nosebleed Headache

Key TCM concepts behind Huai Hua's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Huai Hua 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 Huai Hua is Cool in nature. This means that Huai Hua tends 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 Huai Hua can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Huai Hua 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 Huai Hua 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 Huai Hua is thought to target the Large intestine and the Liver. In TCM the Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. 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 Huai Hua

Extracts from Sophora japonica seeds have hemagglutininic properties (i.e. causes red blood cells to agglutinate).1


1. RD Poretz, H Riss, JW Timberlake, SM Chien (1974). "Purification and properties of the hemagglutinin from Sophora japonica seeds" Biochemistry 13, 2, 250-256

Use of Huai Hua as food

Huai Hua is also eaten as food.