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: Harvest the fruit when ripe, remove the seed and dry.
Dosage: 3-9 g
Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Kidney Yang and consolidates Kidney Qi. Warms the Spleen and stops diarrhea and salivation.
Contraindications*: Not for symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and frequent urination caused by Internal Heat.
Source date: 1227 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Formula key actions: Warms the Kidneys. Dispels cold. Reduces urinary frequency. Stops leakage.
Yi Zhi Ren is a king ingredient in Suo Quan Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Suo Quan Wan, Yi Zhi Ren warms the Kidneys and helps them grasp the Qi of the Bladder. It also warms the Spleen, which assists in governing Fluids. Lastly it also has a more direct action in stabilizing and binding up urine.
Source date: 1732 AD
Number of ingredients: 4 herbs
Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Warms the Kidneys. Drains Dampness. Separates the clear from the turbid.
Yi Zhi Ren is a deputy ingredient in Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin, Yi Zhi Ren is acrid and aromatic. It warms the Spleen and the Stomach to harmonize the Middle Burner. It also helps the Kidney Yang to secure the Lower Burner. Thus it reduces the urination frequency and stabilizes the Qi.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sharp-leaf galangal fruits are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.
Furthermore sharp-leaf galangal fruits are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that sharp-leaf galangal fruits tend 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 sharp-leaf galangal fruits can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Sharp-leaf galangal fruits also taste Pungent. 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 sharp-leaf galangal fruits 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.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such sharp-leaf galangal fruits are thought to target the Spleen and the Kidney. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body.
Sharp-leaf galangal fruit has an anti-diarrheal effect.1
Sharp-leaf galangal fruit has a protective effect against bone loss.2
1. Wang S. Zhao Y, Zhang J, Huang X, Wang Y, Xu X, Zheng B, Zhou X, Tian H, Liu L, Mei Q (2015) Antidiarrheal effect of Alpinia oxyphylla Miq. (Zingiberaceae) in experiemental mice and its possible mechanism of action. J Ethnopharmacol 168:182-90
2. Hyunil Ha, Ki-Shuk Shim, Taesoo Kim, Chung-Jo Lee, Ji Hyung Park, Han Sung Kim, Jin Teul Ma. (2014) Water extract of the fruits of Alpinia oxyphylla inhibits osteoclast differentiation and bone loss. BMC Complement Altern Med 14:352
Sharp-leaf galangal fruits are also eaten as food.