Pagoda tree pods

Chinese: 槐角

Pinyin: Huái jiǎo

Parts used: The dried ripe fruits

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Gallbladder Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Sophora japonica

Use of pagoda tree pods (Huai jiao) 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 fruit and dry, preferably under the sun.

Dosage: 6-9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat, cools the Blood, moistens the Intestines and stops bleeding. Clears and drains Liver Fire, nourishes the Liver, brightens the eyes and reduces blood pressure.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which pagoda tree pods may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hematochezia Blood in stools Hemorrhoidal bleeding Headache Dizziness Bloodshot eyes Hematuria

Contraindications*: This herb is not recommended for pregnant women or for those with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency Cold.

Common TCM formulas in which pagoda tree pods (Huai jiao) are used*

Huai Jiao Wan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears heat from the Intestines. Stops bleeding. Disperses wind. Regulates Qi.

Conditions targeted*: HemorrhoidsBleeding hemorrhoids and others

Huai jiao is a king ingredient in Huai Jiao Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Huai Jiao Wan, Huai jiao

clears Damp Heat from the Intestines, drains Heat and clears the Intestines, cools the Blood, and also stops bleeding.

Read more about Huai Jiao Wan

Key TCM concepts behind pagoda tree pods (Huai jiao)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pagoda tree pods are plants that belong 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 pagoda tree pods are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that pagoda tree pods typically help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. 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 pagoda tree pods can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Pagoda tree pods 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 pagoda tree pods 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 pagoda tree pods are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Large intestine and the Liver. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. 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.

Research on pagoda tree pods (Huai jiao)

Consumption of Rexflavone (composed of Huai Jiao extract) possesses beneficial effects on postmenopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.1

Sources:

1. Lee J, Kim KW, Kim HK, Chae SW, Jung JC, Kwon SH, Rheu CH. (2010). The effect of Rexflavone (Sophorae fructus extract) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Arch Pharm Res. , 33(4):523-30. doi: 10.1007/s12272-010-0405-0. Epub 2010 Apr 27.