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Xu Duan

English Name: dipsacus, Japanese teasel root

Literal Translation: “restore what is broken”

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Dispaci

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Xu Duan enters the Liver and Kidney channels; it is botter, sweet, and acrid in nature and slightly warm in temperature.

What is Xu Duan?:

The Chinese Herb Xu Duan is the dried roots of dispacus (aka Japanese teasel– Dipsacus asperoides C. Y. Cheng et T. M. Ai), a small perennial flowering herb with prickly stems and leaves that catches rainwater in little cup-like structures that form at the junction of the stems and leaves. Cultivated in Sichuan, Hebei, and Yunnan provinces in China, the roots are dug up in the late spring/early summer, dried, and can be left unprocessed, dry-fried, wine-fried, or salt-prepared for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Xu Duan:

Xu Duan tonifies the Liver and Kidneys to nourish the muscles, bones, and sinews and addresses musculoskeletal pain and soreness, especially in the lower back and knees. It also invigorates blood circulation and is often paired with Du Zhong (eucommia bark) to aid in the healing of broken bones, sprains, and other injuries to tendons and ligatures.

Xu Duan is also indicated for treating polyuria and spermatorrhea (from deficiency of the Kidneys).

Xu Duan calms the fetus and stops uterine bleeding due to Kidney and Liver deficiencies and instability in the ren (conception) and chong (thoroughfare) channels.

Xu Duan dredges the channels and collaterals and is often used in formula with other heat-toxin clearing herbs to reduce swelling and pain and/or dissipate nodules, abscesses, and sores.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated for persons with yin-deficient fire.

Contraindicated for persons with bi pain (painful obstruction syndrome) from dampness and/or heat.

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