English: Selanginella herbs

Chinese: 石上柏

Parts used: Whole plant

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Liver

Scientific name: Selaginella

Use of Shi shang Bai (selanginella 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: Collect the plants, clean, and dry.

Dosage: 24-60g Fresh: 60-250g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Toxic-Heat. Clears Damp-Heat. Invigorates the Blood so as to removes cancer tumors.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Shi shang Bai may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Lung Heat cough Swollen throat Painful throat Sores Ulcers Upper respiratory tract infections Pneumonia Adenitis Damp-Heat jaundice Ascites Ascites by Liver cirrhosis Chronic hepatitis Cirrhosis of the Liver Lung cancer Nasopharyngeal cancer Esophageal cancer Liver cancer Skin cancer Acute tonsillitis Conjunctivitis Mastitis

Contraindications*: When preparing a decoction, it is recommended to allow it to cool for an extended period of time.

Key TCM concepts behind Shi shang Bai's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shi shang Bai belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Shi shang Bai is Neutral in nature. This means that Shi shang Bai 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 Shi shang Bai means that you don't have to worry about that!

Shi shang Bai also tastes Bitter. 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 Shi shang Bai tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Shi shang Bai 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.