English: Spikemoss

Chinese: 卷柏

Parts used: Whole plant

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Pungent

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Selaginella tamariscina or Selaginella pulvinata

Other names: Selaginellae leaf

Use of Juan Bai (spikemoss) 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: Remove impurities, wash, soak in water, cut thick slices, dry.

Dosage: 4.5-9g

Main actions according to TCM*: Invigorates Blood. Regulates menstruation.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Juan Bai may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Menstrual cramps Traumatic injuries Heavy menstruation Blood in stools Rectal prolapse Vomiting blood

Contraindications*: Not for pregnancy

Key TCM concepts behind Juan Bai's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Juan Bai 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 Juan Bai is Neutral in nature. This means that Juan 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 Juan Bai means that you don't have to worry about that!

Juan Bai also tastes 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 Juan Bai 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.

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