English Name: albizia bark
Pharmaceutical Name: Cortex Albiziae
Medica Category: Shen Calming Herbs
Properties: He Huan Pi enters the Heart and Liver channels; it is sweet in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb He Huan Pi is the dried inner bark of a tree commonly known as mimosa or silk tree (Albizia julibrissin Durraz.) that grows wild across Western Asia and Southern China and is recognized for its characteristic wispy whitish-pink-to-purple flowers. The bark is collected from the tree in the summer and autumn, cut into strips, and dried for use as medicine.
He Huan Pi calms the shen and relieves the insomnia, forgetfulness, short-temper, irritability, and emotional ups and downs associated with pre-menstrual syndrome that come from constraint due to Liver qi stagnation. This herb is mild in this action– so, for example, it might be a good herb to add to a formula like Xiao Yao Wan (Free & Easy Wanderer) when there is insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness (i.e. signs of disturbed shen) thrown in the mix with other symptoms of Liver qi stagnation.
He Huan Pi invigorates blood and reduces swelling in traumatic injuries and is considered one of the most important herbs to help in this regard. In addition to moving blood and reducing swelling, it also helps generate flesh and mend broken bones.
Use with caution during pregnancy as He Huan Pi stimulates contractions of the uterus.