English: Silkworms

Chinese: 僵蚕

Parts used: the whole worm

TCM category: Herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop Tremors

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): PungentSalty

Organ affinity: Liver Lung

Scientific name: Bombyx mori Linnaeus or Beauveria bassiana

Other names: Stiff silkworm, Batryticatus Bombyx

Use of Jiang Can (silkworms) 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 dried body of the 4-5 stage larva of silkworms which are died of infection. Wash, remove impurities and dry.

Dosage: 3-10g

Main actions according to TCM*: Antispasmodic, subdues Internal Wind. Expels Wind and stops pain. Clears Toxins and dissipates nodules.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Jiang Can may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Convulsions in children Bell's palsy Epilepsy Tetanus Migraine Sore throat Conjunctivitis Painful eyes Rheumatic pain Swellings Swollen glands

Contraindications*: Should not be used together with Platycodon roots, Poria-coco mushroom, Fish-poison yam and Praying Mantis Egg-Cases.

Common TCM formulas in which Jiang Can is used*

Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1202 AD

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Toxic-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat .

Conditions targeted*: FurunclesCarbuncles and others

Jiang Can is a deputy ingredient in Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin, Jiang Can is acrid and neutral. It disperse Wind-Heat from the Upper Burner, head, and face.

Read more about Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin

Hui Chun Dan

Source date: Late 18th century

Number of ingredients: 19 herbs

Formula key actions: Opens the sensory orifices. Arrests spasms and convulsions. Clears Heat and transforms Phlegm.

Conditions targeted*: Acute encephalitisAcute meningitis and others

Jiang Can is a deputy ingredient in Hui Chun Dan. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Hui Chun Dan, Jiang Can extinguishes Wind and controlling spasms and convulsions.

Read more about Hui Chun Dan

Key TCM concepts behind Jiang Can's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Jiang Can belongs to the 'Herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop Tremors' category. These herbs are used to treat so-called 'hyperactive Liver Yang'. Concretely this translates into high blood pressure as well as seizures, spasms, convulsions, dizziness and vertigo. These herbs often seem to have a powerful antispasmodic effect on the nervous system.

Furthermore Jiang Can is Neutral in nature. This means that Jiang Can 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 Jiang Can means that you don't have to worry about that!

Jiang Can also tastes Pungent and 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. Pungent ingredients like Jiang Can tends 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. On the other hand Salty ingredients tend 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 Jiang Can is thought to target the Liver and the Lung. 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. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.