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Plantain grass

Chinese: 车前草

Pinyin: Chē Qián Cǎo

Parts used: Dried grass

TCM category: Herbs that drain Dampness

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Gallbladder Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Plantago asiatica or Plantago depressa

Use of plantain grass (Che Qian Cao) 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, clean, cut and dry.

Dosage: 9 to 30 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Heat and help drains Dampness through urination. Expels Phlegm, cools Blood and detoxifies.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which plantain grass may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Edema Scanty urination Urinary difficulties Diarrhea Phlegm Coughing Hematemesis Carbuncles Sores

Key TCM concepts behind plantain grass (Che Qian Cao)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), plantain grass are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that drain Dampness' category. These herbs are typically diuretics, meaning that they promotes the increased production of urine in order to remove Dampness that has accumulated in the body. According to TCM Dampness accumulates first in the lower limbs, causing edema and impaired movement. From there, if unchecked, it can move upward and impair digestion and eventually the respiratory system.

Furthermore plantain grass are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that plantain grass 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 plantain grass can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Plantain grass also taste 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 plantain grass tend 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 plantain grass are thought to target the Gallbladder, the Kidney 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 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. 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.