English: Silktree albizia barks

Chinese: 合欢皮

Parts used: bark

TCM category: Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Albiziae Cortex

Other names: Persian silk tree, Silk tree bark,

Use of He Huan Pi (silktree albizia barks) 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 bark from the tree and dry

Dosage: 6-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Calms the Mind. Removes Blood Stagnation to reduce swellings and stop pain. Circulates Qi and remove pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which He Huan Pi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Anger Insomnia Depression Irritability Poor memory Swellings Fracture pain Trauma pain Traumatic swelling

Contraindications*: Not use during pregnancy. Should not be used unless there are Qi or Blood Stagnation

Common TCM formulas in which He Huan Pi is used*

Zhen Xin An Shen Tang

Source date: 1985 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Anchors the Heart and calms the Mind.

Conditions targeted*: Neurotic insomniaDreamdisturbed sleep and others

Read more about Zhen Xin An Shen Tang

Key TCM concepts behind He Huan Pi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Huan Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that anchor and calm the Spirit' category. These herbs are substances that tranquilize the Mind and treat symptoms such as restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or insomnia. They tend to have sedative properties by weighing the Qi downwards and should generally be used for a limited time only.

Furthermore He Huan Pi is Neutral in nature. This means that He Huan Pi 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 He Huan Pi means that you don't have to worry about that!

He Huan Pi 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 He Huan Pi 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 He Huan Pi is thought to target the Heart and the Liver. In addition to regulating Blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Liver on the other hand 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.