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Da Suan

English Name: garlic bulb, garlic

Pharmaceutical Name: Bulbus Alli Sativi

Medica Category: Substances for Topical Application

Properties: Da Suan enters the Spleen, Stomach, and Lung channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Da Suan?:

The Chinese Herb Da Suan is garlic (Allium sativum L.). It is best known as a food, but it can also be juiced, mashed up and made into a paste, compress, or other “topical delivery system”, or decocted into a formula with other herbs for internal use.

Contemporary studies about the health benefits of garlic are legion: it has anti-microbial properties, it lowers blood sugar levels, it induces diaphoresis (to help sweat out an incipient cold), it is good for the cardiovascular system, and it has certain cancer-fighting properties as well. In the section below, however, only its formal actions and clinical applications in TCM are discussed.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Da Suan:

Da Suan reduces swelling and clears toxicity and is used both internally and externally to address various presentations involving swelling and toxins. For example, it can be made into a paste and applied topically in the initial stages of abscesses and sores; it can also be taken internally or as an enema to address diarrhea and dysenteric disorders due to epidemic toxins; or it can be taken as a preventative for viral infections (either as food or made into nasal drops.

In its capacity to clear toxicity it is used topically to address tinea and other pruritic skin conditions.

Da Suan kills intestinal parasites such as hookworm and pinworm.

Da Suan relieves food poisoning and is used in cases of shellfish poisoning.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated in persons with yin-deficient heat.

Contraindicated in cases of excess heat affecting the eyes, throat, mouth, gums, and tongue.

Use as an enema not recommended for pregnant women.

Da Suan has been shown to lower blood plasma glucose levels and its use should be monitored when taken in conjunction with insulin, sulfonylureas, and other antidiabetic medications (e.g. insulin, tolbutamide (Orinase), glipizide (Glucotrol), and glyburide (DiaBeta/Micronase)) as the combination may have a synergistic effect leading to hypoglycemia.

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