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Sanguisorba roots

Chinese: 地榆

Pinyin: Dì yú

Parts used: The dried root

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): BitterSour

Organ affinity: Stomach Large intestine Liver

Scientific name: Sanguisorba officinalis

Other names: Great burnet root

Use of sanguisorba roots (Di yu) 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 the fibrous roots from the main root, wash and dry

Dosage: 6 - 12 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Reduces Heat in the Blood, drains Damp-Heat and stops bleeding. Stops diarrhea. Applied topically it reduces inflammation and aids in wound healing.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which sanguisorba roots may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Blood in urine Blood in stools Hematochezia Hematuria Hemorrhoidal bleeding Vomiting blood Diarrhea Traumatic injuries Burns Sores

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used when there is Cold or weakness, especially when there is Deficient Qi causing uterine bleeding.

Common TCM formulas in which sanguisorba roots (Di yu) are used*

Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Source date: 1988

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Empty Heat. Tonifies the Kidney Yin. Stops bleeding. Supplies Body Fluids.

Conditions targeted*: MetrorrhagiaThreatened miscarriage and others

Di yu is a deputy ingredient in Qing Re Gu Jing Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Qing Re Gu Jing Tang, Di yu Cools the Blood to stop bleeding. It also removes Toxic-Heat.

Read more about Qing Re Gu Jing Tang

Huai Jiao Wan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears heat from the Intestines. Stops bleeding. Disperses wind. Regulates Qi.

Conditions targeted*: HemorrhoidsBleeding hemorrhoids and others

In Huai Jiao Wan, Di yu

treats chronic or profuse rectal bleeding

Read more about Huai Jiao Wan

Key TCM concepts behind sanguisorba roots (Di yu)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sanguisorba roots are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that stop bleeding' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, meaning that they help stop various types of hemorrhages and echymosis. Unlike other herbs they often tend to be used externally.

Furthermore sanguisorba roots are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that sanguisorba roots tend to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition sanguisorba roots can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Sanguisorba roots also taste Bitter and Sour. 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 sanguisorba roots 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 Sour ingredients help with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of Fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such sanguisorba roots are thought to target the Stomach, the Large intestine and the Liver. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. The Large Intestine on the other hand receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. The Liver 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.