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Tokyo violets

Chinese: 紫花地丁

Pinyin: Zǐ Huā Dì Dīng

Parts used: Dried herb

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): BitterPungent

Organ affinity: Heart Liver

Scientific name: Viola yedoensis or Viola philippica

Other names: Yedoens violet

Use of tokyo violets (Zi Hua Di Ding) 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: Extract the herbs, wash and dry.

Dosage: 9 - 15 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Expels Heat and toxicity and reduces swellings. Cools and reduces Hot swellings if applied topically.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which tokyo violets may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Swollen eyes Sore throat Abcesses Boils Carbuncles Furuncles Erysipelas Snake bites Pyogenic infections

Contraindications*: Should not be used by those who have Deficiency with Cold.

Common TCM formulas in which tokyo violets (Zi Hua Di Ding) are used*

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Conditions targeted*: Multiple furunclesCarbuncles and others

Zi Hua Di Ding is a deputy ingredient in Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, Zi Hua Di Ding has a comparatively strong ability to resolve Toxicity, cooling the Blood, reducing swellings and dispersing clumps. It is often used to treat various types of purulent lesions.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Key TCM concepts behind tokyo violets (Zi Hua Di Ding)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), tokyo violets are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity treat the latter while, at the same time, removing infectious toxins from the body. As such they tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category tokyo violets are plants that are Cold in nature. This means that tokyo violets typically help people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. 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 tokyo violets can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Tokyo violets also taste Bitter and 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. Bitter ingredients like tokyo violets 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 Pungent ingredients tend 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 tokyo violets are 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.