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English Name: sappan wood
Pharmaceutical Name: Lignum Sappan
Medica Category: Blood-Invigorating and Stasis-Removing Herbs
Properties: Su Mu enters the Heart, Liver, and Spleen channels; it is sweet, salty, and slightly acrid in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Su Mu is the dried heartwood of the sappan tree (Caesalpinia sappan L.), which is a prickly, shrubby kind of tree that ranges from South China (Guangxi and Guangdong provinces) and Taiwan down through the sub-tropical woodlands of Southeast Asia. Historically it was a source of red dye that was imported to Europe in very large quantities through the middle ages until synthetic sources largely replaced it for this use. For medicinal use, the heartwood of this plant is either planed, split, or crushed down into small pieces and then boiled to extract the active constituents into a decoction.
Su Mu activates blood circulation and dispels blood stasis to relieve amenorrhea with menstrual pain as well as postpartum abdominal pain. It also opens channels and collaterals to address pain, bruising, and swelling associated with traumatic/sports injuries.
Contraindicated during pregnancy.