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Radish seeds

Chinese: 莱菔子

Pinyin: Lái Fú Zi

Parts used: Dried ripe seeds

TCM category: Herbs that relieve Food Stagnation

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): PungentSweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach Lung

Scientific name: Raphanus sativus

Other names: Lai Fu Zi

Use of radish seeds (Lai Fu Zi) 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 and dry. Crush before use.

Dosage: 6 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the digestion and unblocks Food Stagnation. Reverses Rebellious Lung Qi and transforms Phlegm

Primary conditions or symptoms for which radish seeds may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Phlegm Abdominal pain Abdominal bloating Constipation Acid reflux Whooping cough

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those who suffer from Deficient Qi.

Common TCM formulas in which radish seeds (Lai Fu Zi) are used*

San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Source date: 1856 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula key actions: Directs the Qi downward. Transforms Phlegm. Reduces harbored food.

Conditions targeted*: Chronic bronchitisBronchial asthma and others

Lai Fu Zi is a king ingredient in San Zi Yang Qin Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In San Zi Yang Qin Tang, Lai Fu Zi enters the Lung Channel to direct the Qi downward and transform Phlegm, and mobilizes the Spleen Channel to promote the flow of Spleen Qi and reduce harbored food.

Read more about San Zi Yang Qin Tang

Bao He Wan

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Reduces food stagnation. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Conditions targeted*: GastroenteritisChronic gastritis and others

Lai Fu Zi is a deputy ingredient in Bao He Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Bao He Wan, Lai Fu Zi reduces the accumulation of Phlegm from stagnant grains and at facilitating the flow of Qi.

Read more about Bao He Wan

Key TCM concepts behind radish seeds (Lai Fu Zi)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), radish seeds are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that relieve Food Stagnation' category. These herbs typically possess digestive and Food moving properties as they relate to the Stomach and Spleen. Some of these herbs are high in digestive enzymes and have varying specific abilities to help with the digestion of food.

Furthermore radish seeds are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that radish seeds typically don'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 radish seeds means that you don't have to worry about that!

Radish seeds also taste Pungent and 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. Pungent ingredients like radish seeds 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. On the other hand Sweet ingredients 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 radish seeds are thought to target the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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.

Research on radish seeds (Lai Fu Zi)

Capsules consisting of Radish seeds are safe in treating hypertension grade I and II with no adverse reaction.1

Sources:

1. Yu XD, Zhou WQ, Cui L. ( 2003). Hypotensive action of luohuo capsule and its effect on plasma adrenal medullin and tissue factor pathway inhibitor. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 23(9):668-72.

Use of radish seeds (Lai Fu Zi) as food

Radish seeds are also eaten as food.