English Name: fenugreek seed
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Trigonellae
Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs
Properties: Hu Lu Ba enters the Kidney and Liver channels; it is bitter in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Hu Lu Ba is dried seeds of common fenugreek, an herb/microgreen (similar to clover) that can be found in produce sections of many markets (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.). White or yellow flowers appear on the plant in the early summer which develop into yellow-brown seed pods in the fall, each containing 10-20 seeds within. The whole plant is then harvested and threshed to obtain the seeds, which are dried for use as medicine.
Hu Lu Ba warms Kidney yang and relieves pain. It is a relatively mild tonic herb which is used when there is accumulation of cold in the middle with qi stagnation. This presents clinically abdominal and hypochondriac fullness and pain (w/coldness) or severe hernial pain. Hu Lu Ba also addresses gas in the intestines, colicky pain (i.e. pain that comes in waves, starts and ends suddenly, and is often severe), and feelings of genital prolapse.
Hu Lu Ba dispels damp-cold in the lower jiao to address pain in the knees and feet that can occur when qi and blood cannot properly circulate in the lower extremities (due to accumulation of damp-cold in the channels).
Use with caution during pregnancy due to its emmenagogic effect (i.e. it promotes menstruation).
Contraindicated for persons with yin-deficient heat or damp-heat.