English Name: earthworm
Literal Translation: “earth dragon”
Pharmaceutical Name: Pheretima
Medica Category: Liver-Calming and Wind-Extinguishing Herbs
Properties: Di Long enters the Liver, Spleen, Urinary Bladder, and Lung channels; it is salty in nature and cold in temperature.
What is Di Long?:
The Chinese Herb Di Long is the dried body of earthworms (Pheretina aspergillum (Eperrier); and several other species used in various regions of China). The earthworms are caught and then the viscera are removed. What remains is dried for use as medicine (either in decocted or in powdered form).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Di Long:
Di Long penetrates deeply into the body to clear heat, extinguish wind, and stop tremors and convulsions. It is especially useful in febrile disorders with a wind component (such as mania, seizures, convulsions, and epilepsy). Also indicated for schizophrenia of the hot-manic type.
Di Long dilates the bronchial muscles and arrests wheezing to address asthma, bronchial wheezing, whooping cough, and other respiratory disorders caused by excess Lung heat.
Di Long opens the channels and collaterals to treat bi zheng (“painful obstruction syndrome”) characterized by swollen and painful joints with reduced range of motion. It is most commonly used when there are heat signs (e.g. redness and swelling with the joint pain), but it can also be used for joint pain/mobility issues caused by cold (i.e. without the redness and swelling—as in the formula Xiao Huo Luo Dan). Di Long also helps break up the qi and blood stagnation that cause post-stroke complications such as hemiplegia and paralysis.
Di Long clears heat and promotes urination to address urinary difficulties with burning dysuria, urinary stones, and/or the inability to urinate.
Di Long anchors Liver yang has a mild but lasting effect to address hypertension that presents with red eyes, headache, dizziness, and/or a bitter taste in the mouth.
Use with caution during pregnancy as Di Long stimulates contractions of the uterus.
Contraindicated for persons with Spleen/Stomach deficiency patterns and also for those who do not show excess heat signs.