English Name: nutgrass or nutsedge rhizome
Literal Translation: “aromatic appendage”
Pharmaceutical Name: Rhizoma Cyperi
Medica Category: Qi-Regulating Herbs
Properties: Xiang Fu enters the Liver and San Jiao channels; it is acrid, slightly bitter, and slightly sweet in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Xiang Fu is the dried rhizome material of cyperus (aka (purple) nutgrass or nut sedge—Cyperus rotundus L.). Cyperus is grass-like perennial herb with worldwide distribution in temperate climes. It is considered an invasive species because it has evolved a complex system of tubers, roots, and rhizomes which allow it to grow/survive in a wide variety of environments and also make it very difficult to eradicate from unwanted areas. For medicinal use, large, hard rhizomes with intense fragrance are considered the best quality.
Xiang Fu enters the Liver channel to regulate Liver qi (i.e. “spreads the liver”). It is commonly used in formula to address hypochondriac, abdominal, and epigastric pain due to Liver qi stagnation.
Xiang Fu regulates qi at the blood (xue) level, which in practical terms makes it a very important herb for regulating irregular menstruation (with concomitant signs of Liver qi stagnation such as breast distention, abdominal pain, and irritability, for example).
**safety note (for TCM students and practitioners)—Xiang Fu should be used with care in those with qi deficiency without qi stagnation and for those with yin deficiency with blood heat.
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