Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye)
What is Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye)?
Herba Lophatheri (dan zhu ye, 淡竹叶), also known as, is the dried stems and leaves of Lophatherum gracile, a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family. Widely distributed along China’s Yangtze River basin, Southern China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea and Japan, Lophatherum gracile thrives in warm and humid environments such as hillsides, woodlands, forest edges and sheltered places beside roads.
Before Lophatherum gracile blooms at the end of summer each year, people gather then gather their stems and leaves, dry them under the sun and cut them into sections for medicinal usage. First appeared in Compendium of Materia Medica, Herba Lophatheri is used in about 50 different types of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) prescriptions. Generally, light green or yellow green Herba Lophatheri with a lanceolate shape is of better quality.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Herba Lophatheri falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire’. Such herbs are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as internal Heat in TCM. Most of the herbs in this category have both antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Cold in nature, Herba Lophatheri 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. Sweet in taste, Herba Lophatheri can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Herba Lophatheri targets the Heart, the small intestine and the stomach.
Functions and Benefits of Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Herba Lophatheri has the following health benefits.
Herba Lophatheri can clear and purge excess Heat in your body, which makes it effective in relieving warm diseases, such as high fever, sweat, irritability and thirst. For severe cases of excess Heat, Herba Lophatheri is used as an assistant herb to stronger Heat-clearing herbs such as Gypsum and Anemarrhena Rhizome to enhance their effectiveness.
Herba Lophatheri can relieve exuberant Heart fire manifested as restlessness, hot sensation, red tongue tip and mouth ulcers, as well as Heart Heat going down to the small intestine manifested as hot and difficult urination, urethral burning and painful sensation in the urinary tract. This herb can induce diuresis as well.
How to Use Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye)
The recommended daily dosage of Herba Lophatheri is 5 – 15g, when used as a decoction. Herba Lophatheri may be made into decoctions, medicinal liquor and tea.
Herba Lophatheri and Herba Lophatheri supplements can be found in many herbal stores and some Asian specialty markets.
Cautions and Side Effects of Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye)
Herba Lophatheri should not be used by individuals who are pregnant.
Also, Herba Lophatheri should not be used together with diuretics such as chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide furosemide (Lasix) bumetanide (Bumex) and torsemide (Demadex). Concurrent use of Herba Lophatheri with diuretics may cause frequent urination.
Herba Lophatheri needs to be used with caution if the patient is not experiencing excess Fire and Damp-Heat.
Some side effects associated with Herba Lophatheri include stomachache, pallor, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness and loose stools.
Here is a summary for Herba Lophatheri (Dan Zhu Ye):
- Herb name (Chinese): 淡竹叶
- Herb name (Pin Yin): dàn zhú yè
- Herb name (English): Lophatherum Herb
- Herb name (Botanical): Herba Lophatheri
- Origin of species: Lophatherum gracile Brongn.
- Part(s) of herb used: Dried stem and leaf
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Regions along Yangtze River, many parts of China
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, bland; Cold; Administrates the Heart, Stomach and Small Intestine Meridians
- Actions: Relieves symptoms of constant thirst resulting from major heat-related illnesses; Eases canker sores and painful urination
Chen, L. F., Zhong, Y. L., Luo, D., Liu, Z., Tang, W., Cheng, W., … & Li, M. M. (2019). Antiviral activity of ethanol extract of Lophatherum gracile against respiratory syncytial virus infection. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 242, 111575. [Accessed on 13th February 2023]
Chen, Y. L., Chen, C. Y., Lai, K. H., Chang, Y. C., & Hwang, T. L. (2023). Anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities of flavone C-glycosides of Lophatherum gracile for COVID-19. Journal of Functional Foods, 105407. [Accessed on 13th February 2023]
Ge, Q., Mao, J. W., Guo, X. Q., Zhou, Y. F., Gong, J. Y., & Mao, S. R. (2013). Composition and antioxidant activities of four polysaccharides extracted from Herba Lophatheri. International journal of biological macromolecules, 60, 437-441. [Accessed on 13th February 2023]
Wong, F. C., Chai, T. T., & Hoo, Y. W. (2012). Antioxidation and cytotoxic activities of selected medicinal herbs used in Malaysia. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 6(16), 3169-3175.[Accessed on 13th February 2023]
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