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: Soak in water, wash, steam slightly, remove the outside skin, cut into pieces or thick slices, dry.
Dosage: 6 - 15 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Drains Dampness and encourages urination
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used when there is an absence of Dampness.
Source date: 220 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.
Zhu Ling is a deputy ingredient in Wu Ling San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Wu Ling San, Zhu Ling eliminates Dampness and promotes urination.
Source date: 1481 AD
Number of ingredients: 9 herbs
Formula key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.
Zhu Ling is a deputy ingredient in Wei Ling Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Wei Ling Tang, Zhu Ling eliminates Dampness and promotes urination.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Zhu Ling belongs 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 Zhu Ling is Neutral in nature. This means that Zhu Ling typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Zhu Ling means that you don't have to worry about that!
Zhu Ling also tastes 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 Zhu Ling tends 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 Zhu Ling is thought to target the Bladder and the Kidney. In TCM the impure water collected by the Kidneys that cannot be used by the body is sent to the Bladder for storage and excretion as urine. 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 crude extracts and isolated compounds from Polyporus umbellatus possess many kinds of biological functions, especially in the diuretic activities and the treatment of kidney diseases as well as anti-cancer, immuno-enhancing and hepatoprotective activities.1
1. Zhao YY. (2013). Traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and quality control of Polyporus umbellatus (Pers.) Fries: a review. J Ethnopharmacol. , 149(1):35-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.031.
Zhu Ling is also eaten as food.