Polygala Tenuifolia As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Polygala tenuifolia (Yuan Zhi) is an herb in the family Polygalaceae. It is used primarily as an expectorant and antioncotic. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM), where it is called yuan zhi (Chinese: 远志). It can also help with insomnia and dreaminess.

Odour & Nature:

Bitter, warm-natured, non-toxic,


Polygala tenuifolia functions by influencing the heart, kidney and lung.

Indications & Formulas:

Powdered polygala tenuifolia is an effective remedy for amnesia.

Pills made with polygala tenuifolia, cinnamon, dried ginger, asarum, Sichuan pepper (Chinese prickly ash), processed radix aconiti carmichaeli and honey can be taken to treat numbness or tingling in the chest.

Externally application of polygala tenuifolia powder can be used in coping with throat impediment.

Polygala tenuifolia powder can be used with the method of insufflation to relieve headache.

Porphyrized polygala tenuifolia mixed with wine can be applied on affect part to treat mastalgia (breast tenderness and pain) as well as various ulcers.

A mixture of polygala tenuifolia, poria with hostwood, bitter cardamon, wine and rice paste can be processed into pills for oral taking to treat turbid urine.

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 ChinaAbout.net. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *