Star jasmine stems

Chinese: 络石藤

Pinyin: Luò Shí Téng

Parts used: Dried lianoid stem

TCM category: Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Heart Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Trachelospermum jasminoides

Use of star jasmine stems (Luo Shi Teng) 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, cut into sections and dry.

Dosage: 6-12g

Main actions according to TCM*: Dispel Wind-Damp and removes obstruction from the Channels. Remove Blood-Heat and reduces swelling.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which star jasmine stems may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Rheumatoid arthritis Knee pain Loin pain Throat inflammation Carbuncles Boils Traumatic injuries

Contraindications*: Contraindicated for those with diarrhea and during pregnancy.

Common TCM formulas in which star jasmine stems (Luo Shi Teng) are used*

E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang

Source date: the Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes Yin. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Liver. Extinguishes Wind.

Conditions targeted*: EncephalitisMeningitis and others

Luo Shi Teng is an envoy ingredient in E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang. This means that it directs the formula towards certain area of the body and/or harmonizes the actions of other ingredients.

In E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang, Luo Shi Teng focuses the actions of the other ingredients on the Collaterals and sinews.

Read more about E Jiao Ji Zi Huang Tang

Key TCM concepts behind star jasmine stems (Luo Shi Teng)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), star jasmine stems are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness' category. These herbs typically help treat what's called 'bi pain' (i.e. painful obstruction) in TCM. This roughly corresponds to arthritic and rheumatic conditions with pain, stiffness and numbness of the bones, joints and muscles.

Furthermore star jasmine stems are plants that are Cool in nature. This means that star jasmine stems tend to help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Cold in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition star jasmine stems can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Star jasmine stems also taste Bitter. 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 star jasmine stems tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such star jasmine stems are thought to target the Heart, the Kidney 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 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. 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.