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Psoralea fruits

Chinese: 补骨脂

Pinyin: Bǔ Gǔ Zhī

Parts used: Dried ripe seeds

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterPungent

Organ affinity: Spleen Kidney

Scientific name: Psoralea corylifolia

Other names: Babchi

Use of psoralea fruits (Bu Gu Zhi) 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: Collect ripe seeds and dry them.

Dosage: 3 to 9 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Kidney and Spleen Yang and rises Kidney Qi. Prevent Essence leakage and holds urines.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which psoralea fruits may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Psoriasis Vitiligo Impotence Seminal emission Enuresis Frequent urination Loin pain Knee pain Asthma Diarrhea Alopecia areata

Contraindications*: Liang RN, Liu J, Lu J. ( 2008). Treatment of refractory polycystic ovary syndrome by bushen huoxue method combined with ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 28(4):314-7.

Common TCM formulas in which psoralea fruits (Bu Gu Zhi) are used*

Qing E Wan

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula key actions: Warms and Reinforces Kidney Yang.

Read more about Qing E Wan

Key TCM concepts behind psoralea fruits (Bu Gu Zhi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), psoralea fruits are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore psoralea fruits are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that psoralea fruits tend 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 psoralea fruits can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Psoralea fruits also taste Bitter and 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. Bitter ingredients like psoralea fruits tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Pungent ingredients tend 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 psoralea fruits are thought to target the Spleen and the Kidney. 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.

Research on psoralea fruits (Bu Gu Zhi)

Bushen Houxue method (consisted of psoralea fruit) combined with ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration is a safe and effective treatment for refractory polycystic ovary syndrome, with few trauma.1

Sources:

1. Liang RN, Liu J, Lu J. ( 2008). Treatment of refractory polycystic ovary syndrome by bushen huoxue method combined with ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 28(4):314-7.