English Name: platycodon root, balloon-flower root
Literal Translation: ‘solid and straight root”
Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Platycodonis
Medica Category: Phlegm-Resolving Herbs
Properties: Jie Geng enters the Lung channel; it is bitter and acrid in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Jie Geng is dried root of platycodon (aka balloon flower– Platycodon grandiflorum (Jacq.) A. DC.), a herbaceous perennial that grows throughout China. The plant’s signature characteristic is its blue flowers that swell like a balloon before blooming (hence the common name), but it is the roots that are dug up in the spring and/or autumn, cleaned, and dried for use as medicine.
Jie Geng ventilates the Lung—that is, it opens and disperses Lung qi to relieve congestion in the chest and diaphragm. It also dispels phlegm and benefits the throat and is considered one of the most essential herbs for treating Lung disorders. Neutral in temperature, it can successfully treat Lung issues caused by either heat or cold depending on the herbs with which it is combined in formula.
Clinically it is most commonly used to address the presentations of cough with profuse sputum, sore throat, and hoarseness/loss of voice. Furthermore, its action to dispel pus makes it appropriate for use to help drain Lung abscesses.
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