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Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua)

Close up of Pagoda Tree Flower buds (Huai Hua) TCM herb

What is Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua)?

Pagoda Tree Flower (huai hua, 槐花), also known as the Sophora Tree Flower, is the flower of a deciduous tree native to East Asia and cultivated in China, Japan and Korea. These flowers are hermaphrodite and they bloom in late August to early September. Aside from its medicinal usage, the tree is also planted as shade trees because of its rapid growth and immense size.

Pagoda Tree Flower is usually harvested just before the tree comes into bloom in summer, then dried under the sun for medicinal usage. You can use it raw or charred.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stop bleeding’. This herb has hemostatic properties, meaning that it can help to stop various types of hemorrhages and ecchymosis. It is often used externally.

Cool in nature, Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can help people who have too much ‘Heat’ in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a healthy yin-yang­ balance. Bitter in taste, the herb can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. In particular, Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) targets the Large Intestine and the Liver.

Functions and Benefits of Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua)

According to TCM, it is believed that Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) has the following health benefits:

Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can cool blood and stop bleeding. Hence, the herb is often indicated for various bleeding syndromes caused by reckless blood flow due to Blood­Heat. For example, the herb can address Heat-induced bleeding in the lower part of the body, such as bloody hemorrhoids and hematochezia. This is because Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can purge Fire-Heat in the Large Intestine to stop the bleeding,

Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can also eliminate excess Fire in the Liver to address symptoms such as blood-shot eyes and headache. Other associated symptoms include head distension, high blood pressure, vertigo and dizziness. Some healthcare practitioners recommend this herb to improve eyesight and resolve certain symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Modern studies have shown that Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) contains two potent flavonoids: Troxerutin and Oxymatrin. These flavonoids exhibit strong antioxidant activities and have been found to support circulatory health. For example, Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can promote healthy blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and may improve heart functions.

Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) in a glass vase
The Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) is a useful TCM herb to relieve painful eyes and headaches.

How to Use Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua)

The recommended dosage of Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) is 10 – 15g when used for external application or decocted in water for consumption. If you are using it to stop bleeding, you can stir-bake the herb into charcoal. If you are using it to clear Heat and purge Fire, use it in its unprocessed form.

Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) can be decocted alone to make tea, or it can be combined with other herbs to make herbal drinks. For example, herbal teas like Wu Hua tea (五花茶) comprise a mixture of Chrysanthemum Flower, pearl barley, liquorice root, stir-fried white bean, and pagoda tree flower. This tea can help to reduce excess Heat and toxins in the body, and it also serves as a natural remedy for hangovers.

Whole dried Pagoda Tree Flower can be found at many Asian markets. Some herbal shops also sell Pagoda Tree Flower in forms such as powder, capsule and other supplements.

Cautions and Side Effects of Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua)

Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua) contains a chemical called cytosine, which resembles nicotine in composition. Hence, it may be toxic to the human body when taken in large doses. As a result, the herb should not be taken by women who are pregnant or lactating.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before adding Pagoda Tree Flower to your healthcare routine.

Summary

Here is a summary for Pagoda Tree Flower (Huai Hua):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 槐花
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): huái huā
  • Herb name (English): Pagoda tree Flower
  • Herb name (Botanical): Flos Sophorae
  • Origin of species: Sophora japonica L.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Flower and flower bud
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Many parts of China, mainly in the northern parts and highlands
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Slightly cold; Administrates the Liver and Large Intestine Meridians
  • Actions: Eases bleeding conditions; Relieves painful eyes and headaches

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