English: Paniculate swallowwort roots

Chinese: 徐长卿

Parts used: Roots

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Stomach Liver

Scientific name: Cymnanchum paniculatum

Other names: Paniculate cynanchum, Vincetoxicum paniculatum

Use of Xu chang Qing (paniculate swallowwort roots) 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.

Dosage: 3-15g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Wind-Damp. Invigorates the Blood and stops pain. Detoxifies and stops skin itching.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Xu chang Qing may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Trauma pain Abdominal pain Wind rashes Sores Skin itching Eczema Snake bites Waist pain due to rheumatism Toothache

Key TCM concepts behind Xu chang Qing's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Xu chang Qing 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 Xu chang Qing is Warm in nature. This means that Xu chang Qing 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 Xu chang Qing can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Xu chang Qing also tastes Pungent. 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. Pungent ingredients like Xu chang Qing tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Xu chang Qing is thought to target the Stomach and the Liver. In TCM the Stomach 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 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.