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Rice-grain Sprout (Dao Ya)


What is Rice-grain Sprout (Dao Ya)?

Rice-grain Sprout (dao ya, 稻芽), also known as Fructus Oryzae Germinatus, refers to the germinating ripe fruit of Oryza sativa L., a plant that belongs to the Gramineae family. This plant is found in most parts of China, especially the southern regions.

After being harvested, Dao Ya will be cleansed, dipped in water for four to six hours, then fished out and stored in suitable temperature and humidity till the plumule grows to 1cm. Afterwards, it will be dried in the sun and used medicinally in its unprocessed or stir-baked form.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Dao Ya falls under the category of ‘Herbs that relieve food stagnation’. Such herbs typically possess digestive properties to aid with the digestion of food. Warm in nature, Dao Ya can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a yin excess or a yang deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Sweet in taste, Dao Ya can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Dao Ya targets the Spleen and the stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Rice-grain Sprout (Dao Ya)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Dao Ya has the following health benefits.

Dao Ya can promote digestion, reduce food stagnation, strengthen and descend qi, as well as harmonise one’s middle energizer. For example, some symptoms that Dao Ya can help to relieve include food stagnation caused by undigested starchy foods, food stagnation due to Spleen qi deficiency, and overnight food accumulation.

Also, Dao Ya can strengthen one’s Spleen and improve one’s appetite. For example, Dao Ya is useful in treating Spleen deficiency with anorexia. For poor appetite caused by Spleen deficiency, Dao Ya is often combined with qi-moving and Spleen-invigorating herbs such as Fructus Amomi (Sha Ren) and Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) to enhance its actions.

As Dao Ya has similar but milder actions to Malt (Mai Ya), these two herbs are often used in combination to reinforce each other’s actions in treating food stagnation caused by undigested starchy foods, Spleen deficiency syndromes manifested as poor appetite and indigestion.

How to Use Rice-grain Sprout (Dao Ya)

The recommended daily dosage of Dao Ya is 9 – 15g, when used as a decoction. 

To harmonise one’s middle energizer, it is recommended to use Dao Ya in its raw and unprocessed form. To promote digestion, it is recommended to use Dao Ya in its stir-baked form.

Dao Ya and its supplements can be found in herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Rice-grain Sprout (Dao Ya)

Dao Ya should not be used by mothers who are breastfeeding. 

Also, do note that long-term use of Dao Ya might damage the Kidneys.

We strongly recommend you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Dao Ya to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Dao Ya:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 稻芽
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): dào yá
  • Herb name (English): Rice-grain Sprout
  • Herb name (Botanical): Fructus Oryzae Germinatus
  • Origin of species: Oryza sativa L.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Germinating ripe fruit
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Most parts of China, particularly the southern regions
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Warm; Administrates the Stomach and Spleen Meridians
  • Actions: Eases indigestion resulting from consumption of starch-rich foods or as a result of a weak digestive ability

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