English: Tokay geckos

Chinese: 蛤蚧

Parts used: Whole animal

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Salty

Organ affinity: Kidney Lung

Scientific name: Gekko gecko

Use of Ge Jie (tokay geckos) 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 the internal organs. Wipe clean, stretch around bamboo sticks and dry under mild fire.

Dosage: 3 to 6 g

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies the Kidneys and the Lungs. Stops panting by invigorating Qi. Supplies Essence and promotes virility.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Ge Jie may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Dyspnea Asthma Coughing Hemoptysis Impotence Seminal emission

Common TCM formulas in which Ge Jie is used*

Ren Shen Ge Jie San

Source date: 1047 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Tonifies the Qi. Augments the Kidneys. Stops coughing. Arrests wheezing.

Conditions targeted*: Bronchial asthmaEmphysema and others

Ge Jie is a king ingredient in Ren Shen Ge Jie San. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Ren Shen Ge Jie San, Ge Jie is salty and warming, and thus able to tonify the Qi without inducing more Heat

It enters the Lung and Kidney Channels to tonify the Kidney and there by restore their ability to grasp the Qi and thus arrest wheezing.

Read more about Ren Shen Ge Jie San

Key TCM concepts behind Ge Jie's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ge Jie belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yang Tonics are generally used in combination with a small amount of Yin tonics. If Yin is deficient, neither Qi nor Yang herbs alone will be effective. The most common symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency are low libido and impotence. It is worth mentioning that another very effective remedy against Yang Deficiency is regular exercise.

Furthermore Ge Jie is Neutral in nature. This means that Ge Jie 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 Ge Jie means that you don't have to worry about that!

Ge Jie also tastes Salty. 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. Salty ingredients like Ge Jie tends to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove Phlegm and soften hard lumps.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Ge Jie is thought to target the Kidney and the Lung. According to TCM, 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. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.