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.
Main actions according to TCM*: Dispel Wind-Damp and removes obstruction from the Channels. Remove Blood-Heat and reduces swelling.
Contraindications*: Contraindicated for those with diarrhea and during pregnancy.
Source date: the Qing dynasty
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Nourishes Yin. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Liver. Extinguishes Wind.
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.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Luo Shi Teng belongs 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 Luo Shi Teng is Cool in nature. This means that Luo Shi Teng tends 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 Luo Shi Teng can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Luo Shi Teng also tastes 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 Luo Shi Teng tends 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 Luo Shi Teng is 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.