English: Wax gourd peels

Chinese: 冬瓜皮

Parts used: Peels

TCM category: Herbs that drain Dampness

TCM nature: Cool

TCM taste(s): Sweet

Organ affinity: Spleen Small intestine

Scientific name: Benincasa hispida

Use of Dong Gua Pi (wax gourd peels) 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: Collect the peels, clean, slice and dry.

Dosage: 9-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Induces urination so as to reduce swellings and edema.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Dong Gua Pi may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Urinary difficulties Short urination Excessive thirst Edema Hot urination

Key TCM concepts behind Dong Gua Pi's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Dong Gua Pi belongs to the 'Herbs that drain Dampness' category. These herbs are typically diuretics, meaning that they promotes the increased production of urine in order to remove Dampness that has accumulated in the body. According to TCM Dampness accumulates first in the lower limbs, causing edema and impaired movement. From there, if unchecked, it can move upward and impair digestion and eventually the respiratory system.

Furthermore Dong Gua Pi is Cool in nature. This means that Dong Gua Pi 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 Dong Gua Pi can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Dong Gua Pi also tastes Sweet. 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. Sweet ingredients like Dong Gua Pi tends 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 Dong Gua Pi is thought to target the Spleen and the Small intestine. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. Like the Stomach, the Small Intestine has a digestive role, extracting the "pure" part of what we injest to the Spleen and the "impure" down to the Large Intestine.