English: Pyrola herbs

Chinese: 鹿衔草

Parts used: Whole plants

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Pyrola calliantha

Other names: Asian wintergreen root and herb, Lu Han Cao,

Use of Lu Xian Cao (pyrola herbs) 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: Harvest the plants throughout the year, remove impurities, dry until the leaves become softer. Then pile them up until the leaves turn purplish-brown and dry again in the sun.

Dosage: 9-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Dispels Wind-Damp and strengthens the sinew and bones. Stops variety of bleeding. Strengthens Kidney's ability to gasp Qi by tonifying both the Kidneys and Lungs. Invigorates Blood and regulates menstruation.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Lu Xian Cao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Rheumatic arthralgia Back pain Weak back Weak knees Menorrhagia Chronic cough Leukorrhea Chronic wheezing Hemoptysis Epistaxis Abnormal uterine bleeding Trauma bleeding

Key TCM concepts behind Lu Xian Cao's properties

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

Lu Xian Cao 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 Lu Xian Cao 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 Lu Xian Cao is thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, 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 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.