English Name: descurainia seed, lepidium seed, pepperweed seed
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Descurainiae seu Lepidii
Medica Category: Cough- and Wheezing- Relieving Herbs
Properties: Ting Li Zi enters the Lung and Urinary Bladder channels; it is acrid and bitter in nature and very cold in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Ting Li Zi is the dried seeds of one of two species of plants/weeds in the Brassicaceae (mustard/cabbage) family:
Considered invasive weeds in many contexts, these plants grow in disturbed areas and along roadsides. They produce little yellow flowerings in the spring and summer which are followed by seed pods. The seeds are harvested in late summer and dried for use as medicine. It can be used unprocessed but is often dry-fried (to increase its warmth and tone down its side effects).
Ting Li Zi eliminates phlegm in the Lung—both visible phlegm (i.e. sputum) as well as invisible phlegm (i.e. phlegm obstructions that cause chest congestion and feelings of oppression/stifling sensations). Resolving phlegm obstruction in the Lung relieves wheezing (with gurgling sounds in the throat) and cough. In the modern practice of TCM in China, this herb is used address pleurisy, water retention in the thoracic cavity, and congestive heart failure with edema and dyspnea.
Ting Li Zi resolves phlegm obstructions in the Lung that create qi stagnation. This Lung qi stagnation blocks the flow of water through the passages, and edema and dysuria can result.
Contraindicated during pregnancy.
Ting Li Zi is very cold in nature and should only be used for excess conditions (i.e. phlegm accumulation/stagnation)) and not for deficiency conditions; also, it should be used with other qi-tonic herbs in formula for persons with constitutional weakness.