English: Peking spurge roots

Chinese: 京大戟

Parts used: Dried roots

TCM category: Laxative herbs that drain downward

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Spleen Kidney Lung

Scientific name: Euphorbia pekinensis

Use of Jing Da Ji (peking spurge 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.

Preparation: Remove impurities, wash, moisturize, cut into thick slices and dry

Dosage: 1.5 - 3 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Drains water downward and drives out Phlegm-Fluids. Reduces swellings and dispels lumps.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Jing Da Ji may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Sores Scrofula Constipation Edema

Contraindications*: Incompatible with liquorice (Gan Cao). Contraindicated for pregnant women.

Common TCM formulas in which Jing Da Ji is used*

Shi Zao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Formula key actions: Purges and drives out Phlegm-Fluids.

Conditions targeted*: Pericardial and pleural effusionsPneumonia and others

Jing Da Ji is a king ingredient in Shi Zao Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Shi Zao Tang, Jing Da Ji drains Fluids and Dampness from the Organs.

Read more about Shi Zao Tang

Zhou Che Wan

Source date: 992 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Promotes Qi movement. Harshly drives out Water and Heat Stagnation.

Conditions targeted*: SchistosomiasisUremia and others

Jing Da Ji is a king ingredient in Zhou Che Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Zhou Che Wan, Jing Da Ji is a harsh expellants that purge water from the abdomen and chest.

Read more about Zhou Che Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Jing Da Ji's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Jing Da Ji belongs to the 'Laxative herbs that drain downward' category. The herbs in this category are those whose main purpose is to treat constipation. They're called 'laxative' because they're often rich in oils. This allows them to lubricate the Intestines in order to help it remove the stools from the body.

Furthermore Jing Da Ji is Cold in nature. This means that Jing Da Ji typically helps 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 Jing Da Ji can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Jing Da Ji 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 Jing Da Ji 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 Jing Da Ji is thought to target the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.