English: Scarab grubs

Chinese: 蛴螬

Parts used: The dried grubs

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): Salty

Organ affinity: Liver

Scientific name: Holotrichia diomphalia bates

Other names: White grub, June Beetle grub, Northeast giant black chafer grub

Use of Qi Cao (scarab grubs) 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 the grubs, clean, boil in hot water and dry.

Dosage: 2-5g

Main actions according to TCM*: Invigorates the Blood, breaks up Blood Stagnation, relieve swellings and stop pain. Clear Toxic-Heat. Promote lactation.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Qi Cao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Traumatic injuries Amenorrhea Chest pain Emaciation Abdominal distension Gout Tetanus Pharyngitis Nebulae Erysipelas Carbuncles Hemorrhoids Sores Boils Low milk supply

Contraindications*: Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Common TCM formulas in which Qi Cao is used*

Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula key actions: Breaks up and dispels Blood Stagnation. Generates new Blood .

Conditions targeted*: Chronic hepatitisAlcoholic liver disease and others

Qi Cao is a deputy ingredient in Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan, Qi Cao assists the key ingredients by invigorating the Blood,
unblocking the Channels, and breaking up Blood Stagnation, thereby reducing the fixed abdominal masses.

Read more about Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Qi Cao's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qi Cao belongs to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stagnation when it causes certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore Qi Cao is Warm in nature. This means that Qi 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 Qi Cao can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Qi Cao also tastes Salty. 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. Salty ingredients like Qi Cao tends to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Qi Cao is thought to target the Liver. In TCM 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.