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Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan)

Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan) on black background

What is Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan)?

Rhizoma Belamcandae (she gan, 射干)  is the rhizome of the plant Belamcanda chinesis, also known as the Leopard Lily Plant. It is a perennial herbaceous plant native to East Asia, particularly China and Japan. 

In China, Belamcanda chinesis is often found in provinces such as Hubei, Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui. The rhizomes are usually dug out in early spring or late autumn, when the plant just started to sprout or when the leaves start to wither.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), She Gan falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and relieve toxicity’. Such herbs are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as ‘Internal Heat’ in TCM. Such herbs usually have both antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Cold in nature, She Gan can help individuals with too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Bitter in taste, She Gan has a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. In particular, the herb targets the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that She Gan has the following health benefits.

She Gan can clear Heat and remove toxicity, which makes it a great herb to alleviate sore throat, relieve swelling, address bad breath, clear Heat in Lungs and dispel phlegm. In particular, She Gan is very effective in the treatment of Heat-toxicity syndromes manifested as swollen and sore throat due to turbid-phlegm stagnation.

For sore throats caused by excessive Heat-toxicity, it can be combined with other toxicity-removing and sore throat-alleviating herbs to enhance its effects. For sore throats with hoarse voices caused by Wind-Heat invasion of the Lungs, She Gan can be combined with Wind-Heat-dispersing herbs to enhance its effectiveness.  In addition, She Gan can be used orally or topically to treat syndromes of Heat-toxicity such as sores, abscesses and mumps.

As She Gan can clear Heat in the Lungs, direct qi downwards and dispel phlegm, it can relieve cough and asthma, especially those caused by Stagnation of excessive phlegm and saliva, as well as wheezing due to retained phlegm in the throat. This herb is also indicated for cough and asthma caused by Cold-Phlegm and cold drinks, but it must be used together with other herbs that can warm the Lungs, resolve Phlegm, relieve cough and asthma.

She Gan’s ability to activate one’s blood and eliminate phlegm also makes it a commonly used herb in the treatment of amenorrhea, mass malarial nodule, scrofula and subcutaneous nodule.

Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan) flower
Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan) can help to relieve throat discomforts.

How to Use Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan)

Rhizoma Belamcandae can be used in various forms, including raw, powdered, or as an ingredient in herbal formulations. 

The recommended dosage of She Gan is 6 – 12g, when used as a decoction. You may take about 6 – 12g of the herb, add it to a pot with about two to three cups of water, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes. Afterwards, strain the liquid and drink it while it is warm. You can add honey or other natural sweeteners to improve the taste if desired.

She Gan is also available in powdered forms. You can mix the recommended dosage of the powder with warm water or other beverages and consume it.

In some cases, She Gan may be used topically as part of a poultice or ointment to treat skin conditions or localised swelling. It is important to follow the guidance of your healthcare practitioner for proper preparation and application.

Cautions and Side Effects of Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan)

She Gan should not be used by individuals experiencing chronic diarrhoea due to Yang Deficiency in the Spleen or pregnant ladies.

Do note that you should not use She Gan for an extended period of time.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare practitioner before deciding to add She Gan to your healthcare routine.

Summary

Here is a summary for Rhizoma Belamcandae (She Gan):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 射干
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): shè gān
  • Herb name (English): Blackberrylily Rhizome
  • Herb name (Botanical): Rhizoma Belamcandae
  • Origin of species: Belamcanda chinensis (L.) DC.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Rhizome
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Hubei, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Cold; Administrates the Lung Meridian
  • Actions: Relieves throat discomforts; Eases coughs with yellow and sticky oral discharge

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