Bing Tang (Rock sugar) in Chinese Medicine

English: Rock sugar

Chinese: 冰糖

Parts used: The whole thing

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Lung

Scientific name: Saccharum cristallisatum

Other names: Rock candy, Crystal sugar

Use of Bing Tang (rock sugar) 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: Ice-like crystals are produced by decocting sugar.

Dosage: 10 - 15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Qi and moisturizes the Lungs. Relieves cough and resolves Phlegm.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Bing Tang may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Coughing Dysentery Malaria Sore throat

Common TCM formulas in which Bing Tang is used*

Yi Wei Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Strengthen the Stomach. Creates Body Fluids.

Conditions targeted*: Chronic gastritisDiabetes and others

Bing Tang is an assistant ingredient in Yi Wei Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Yi Wei Tang, Bing Tang moistens the Lungs and strengthen the Stomach. It is a primarily sweet substance for moderating the actions of the other herbs.

Read more about Yi Wei Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Bing Tang's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bing Tang belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Qi tonics are typically sweet and they tend to enter the Spleen and Lungs because these Organs are most involved with the production of Qi.

Furthermore Bing Tang is Neutral in nature. This means that Bing Tang 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 Bing Tang means that you don't have to worry about that!

Bing Tang 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 Bing Tang 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 Bing Tang is thought to target the Spleen and the Lung. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.

Use of Bing Tang as food

Bing Tang is also eaten as food.