Tienchi ginseng

Chinese: 三七

Pinyin: Sān Qī

Parts used: Dried roots

TCM category: Herbs that stop bleeding

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: StomachLiver

Scientific name: Panax notoginseng

Other names: Chinese ginseng, Notoginseng, Sanchi ginseng, Pseudoginseng or Three-seven root

Use of tienchi ginseng (Sān Qī) 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 practitionner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Remove impurities, wash, soak in water, cut in thick slices and dry. Crush to power before use.

Dosage: 1 - 9 grams. 1 - 3 grams when taken as a powder.

Main actions according to TCM*: Stops bleeding and resolves blood stasis. Reduces inflammation and associated pain. Reduces swelling and alleviates pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which tienchi ginseng may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Hematemesis Nosebleed Hematochezia Abnormal uterine bleeding Chest pain Abdominal pain Traumatic swelling Joint pain Traumatic bleeding

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by pregnant women and should be used with caution by those with Blood deficiency or Yin deficiency or without stagnation of Blood.

Common TCM formulas in which tienchi ginseng are used*:

Key TCM concepts behind tienchi ginseng's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), tienchi ginseng are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that stop bleeding' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to have hemostatic properties, meaning that they help stop various types of hemorrhages and echymosis. Unlike other herbs they often tend to be used externally.

Furthermore tienchi ginseng are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that tienchi ginseng tend 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 tienchi ginseng can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Tienchi ginseng also taste Bitter and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like tienchi ginseng tend 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 tienchi ginseng are thought to target the Stomach and the Liver. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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 body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on tienchi ginseng

Sanqi Tongshu capsules (consisting in Tienchi ginseng) are effective and safe in treating ischemic stroke without obvious adverse reaction.1

Various studies have found that Panax Notoginseng has protective actions against cerebral ischaemia, beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, and haemostatic, antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, hepatoprotective, renoprotective and estrogen‐like activities.2

Sources:

1. Zhou D, Hong Z, Wang YJ, Chi ZF, Luo BY, Di Q, Chen KM. ( 2008). Clinical study on effect of sanqi tongshu capsule in treating ischemic stroke: multicenter clinical trial. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. , 33(22):2692-6.

2. Ng, T. B. (2006), Pharmacological activity of sanchi ginseng (Panax notoginseng). Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 58: 1007-1019. doi:10.1211/jpp.58.8.0001