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Sha Shen

English Name: adenophora, glehnia

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Adenophorae seu Glehniae

Medica Category: Yin-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Sha Shen enters the Lung and Stomach channels; it is sweet in nature and cool in temperature.

What is Sha Shen?:

What is Sha Shen?:

The Chinese Herb Sha Shen is the dried root of one of two species of plant:

  • the first is adenophora (in pinyin: Nan Sha Shen– Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.), which originated in Korea and Manchuria but now grows widely throughout China, Korea, and Japan in marginal scrubs and grasslands where it doesn’t get too hot. The carrot-like roots are harvested in the spring and autumn. First, the rootlets and coarse bark are removed, then the peeled root is thoroughly washed, sliced, and sun-dried for use as medicine.
  • the other is glehina (in pinyin: Bei Sha Shen; aka American silvertop—Glehinia littoralis F. Schmidt ex. Miq.), which is a small perennial that blooms with clumps of silvery-white flowers in the summer. It grows in sandy soils in coastal areas all around Japan, China, and Korea. It also has a carrot-like root which is processed in much the same way as adenophora (excepting that it harvested in the summer and autumn). Most often if you see Sha Shen in a list of ingredients for a formula, it is usually this Bei Sha Shen that has been used.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Sha Shen:

Sha Shen moistens the Lung and stops cough to address non-productive cough due to Lung yin deficiency. It is also indicated for consumptive cough with blood-streaked sputum.

Sha Shen nourishes the stomach and generates body fluids and is often used after a long fever or febrile disease when there is dry mouth and throat (with a red tongue with no coat) accompanied by constipation (due to chronic stomach yin deficiency).

–safety/clinical notes:

Sha Shen is contraindicated for coughs caused by wind-cold attack; also not suitable for use with coughs characterized by cold and damp (i.e. those with profuse white/watery sputum).

Sha Shen is contraindicated for persons with deficiency and cold in the Spleen and Stomach.

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