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Gou Ji

English Name: cibotium

Literal Translation: “dog’s spine”

Pharmaceutical Name: Rhizoma Cibotii

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Gou Ji enters the Liver and Kidney channels; it is sweet and bitter in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Gou Ji?:

The Chinese Herb Gou Ji (aka East Asian Tree Fern) is an evergreen fern native to sub-tropical regions of South China (and other parts of Southeast Asia as well) whose fronds can reach up to 6 ft. tall (Cibotium barometz (L.) J. Sm.). It propagates by means of a thick, woody, creeping rhizome that is covered by long, soft golden hairs. The rhizome is the part used medicinally—it is harvested and then dry-fried. This facilitates the removal of the golden hairs (which can be used topically to stop bleeding) as well as to facilitate the extraction of the rhizome’s active constituents.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Gou Ji:

Gou Ji tonifies the Liver and Kidney and strengthens bones and sinews. This herb addresses lower back pain and stiffness associated with chronic Liver and Kidney deficiency that is complicated by wind-cold-damp invasion (e.g. an elderly, weak, or otherwise deficient person that cannot lie down flat due to pain and stiffness in lower back that is aggravated in cold, damp weather).

Gou Ji is a mild Kidney yang tonic and is used in formula with other yang tonics to astringe leakage caused by deficiency of jing (essence). Clinical presentations of this include: spermatorrhea, urinary incontinence, clear/watery vaginal discharge, or hypermenorrhea.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated for urinary difficulty due to Kidney yin deficiency with heat signs (e.g. scanty, dark yellow urine).

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