Health Benefits of Tetrapanax Papyrifer – Ben Cao Medical Book

1. Description:

Tetrapanax papyrifer (also known as rice-paper plant, Chinese Pinyin: Tong Cao, Simplified Chinese: 通草, 通脱木, 木通树, 天麻子), is a species of perennial evergreen shrub in genus Tetrapanax (botanical aralia family, Araliaceae). Originated from Taiwan and widely cultivated in East Asia, the plant can grow up to 7 m tall. The stem of Tetrapanax papyrifer is used as diuretic, discutient, emmenagogue and antipyretic in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as low milk supply in mothers.

2. Odour, Properties And Channels:

The stem of Tetrapanax papyrifer is considered to have sweet, cold and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the lung and stomach meridians.

3. Uses, Health Benefits of Tetrapanax Papyrifer & Medical Formulas:

3.1 Internal Damp-Heat Condition

A decoction of Tetrapanax papyrifer stem, Akebia quinata stem and soapstone is taken to treat internal damp-heat condition.

3.2 Blood Path Disorders

A decoction of Tetrapanax papyrifer stem, pig’s feet, Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Sichuan lovage rhizome and Angelica sinensis is taken to treat postpartum poor blood circulation, caked breasts (or galactostasis) and low breast milk supply.

3.3 The Excretory System

A decoction of Tetrapanax papyrifer stem, poria cocos, rhizomes of Alisma orientale and white atractylodes rhizome is taken orally to increase urine output and treat difficult urination.

4. Contraindication, Side-effects & Cautions:

Administration with caution for pregnant women and people with spleen and stomach deficiency.

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The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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