English Name: katsumadai, alpinia
Literal Translation: “grass cardamon”
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Alpinae Katsumadai
Medica Category: Aromatic Damp-Dissolving Herbs
Properties: Cao Dou Kao enters the Spleen and Stomach channels; it is acrid in nature and warm and aromatic in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Cao Dou Kou is the ground seeds of katsumadai (Alpina katsumadai Hayata), a tropical, ginger-like plant with beautiful yellow and orange shell flowers that beget round, yellow fruits. These fruits are gathered and dried, at which point the seeds are removed and ground into a powder for use as medicine.
Cao Dou Kou warms the middle jiao and strengthens the Spleen when cold and dampness prevail (this leading to phlegm stagnation in the middle). This imbalance may present with abdominal coldness and pain, vomiting up clear liquids, lack of appetite, loose stools, and a greasy, white coating on the tongue.