English: Spatholobus stems

Chinese: 鸡血藤

Parts used: Roots, vines or stems

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Heart Liver

Scientific name: Spatholobus suberectus

Other names: Suberect spatholobus stem, Spatholobus root, Millettia root and vine, Millettia Reticulata

Use of Ji Xue Teng (spatholobus stems) 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: Harvest in the autumn and winter seasons, remove the branches and leaves, cut into slices, and dry in the sun.

Dosage: 9-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Promotes Qi circulation and Blood regulation. Tonifies the Blood. Activates the Channels and relaxes the sinews

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ji Xue Teng may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Leukopenia Aplastic anemia Dysmenorrhea Irregular menstruation Amenorrhea with abdominal pain Extremities numbness Lower back pain Knee pain Sore joints Weak extremities in elderly Paralysis Vertigo Painful menstruation Rheumatic arthralgia

Contraindications*: This product is not recommended for individuals with menorrhagia and should be used with caution during pregnancy.

Key TCM concepts behind Ji Xue Teng's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ji Xue Teng 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 Ji Xue Teng is Warm in nature. This means that Ji Xue Teng 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 Ji Xue Teng can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Ji Xue Teng also tastes Bitter and 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. Bitter ingredients like Ji Xue Teng tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend 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 Ji Xue Teng is thought to target the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. In addition to regulating Blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. 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.