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.

Common TCM formulas in which E zhu is used*

Guo Qi Yin

Source date: 1602 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Warms the menses. Dispels blood Stagnation. Nourishes the blood .

Conditions targeted*: Irregular menstruationDysmenorrhea and others

E zhu is a deputy ingredient in Guo Qi Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

In Guo Qi Yin, E zhu invigorates the Blood and moves Blood Stagnation

Read more about Guo Qi Yin

San Zhong Kui Jian Tang

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 17 herbs

Formula key actions: Clears Heat and resolves Toxicity. Reduces swelling. Induces ulceration. Moves the Blood and dispels stasis .

Conditions targeted*: GoiterScrofula and others

E zhu is an assistant ingredient in San Zhong Kui Jian Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In San Zhong Kui Jian Tang, E zhu invigorates the Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. It thus aids in dispersal of the hard swellings. 

The combination of Common burreed tuber and Zedoary rhizome should only be used when the swellings are very hard. Otherwise, they should not be used. 

Read more about San Zhong Kui Jian Tang

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.