English: Zedoary rhizomes

Chinese: 莪术

Parts used: Rhizoma

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterPungent

Organ affinity: Spleen Liver

Scientific name: Curcuma zedoaria or Curcuma wenyujin

Other names: White turmeric, temu putih, Green ginger, Zedoaria, Black ginger

Use of E zhu (zedoary rhizomes) 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 impurities, wash, steam or cook in water for 15 minutes and dry.

Dosage: 3-10g

Main actions according to TCM*: Invigorates Qi and removes Blood Stagnation. Relieves pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which E zhu may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Food stagnation Abdominal bloating Abdominal pain Menstrual cramps Traumatic injuries Chest pain

Contraindications*: Not for patients with excessive menstruation and during pregnancy.

Key TCM concepts behind E zhu's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), E zhu belongs to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stagnation when it causes certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore E zhu is Warm in nature. This means that E zhu tends 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 E zhu can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

E zhu also tastes 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 E zhu tends 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 E zhu is thought to target the Spleen and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. 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.