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Zao Jiao

English Name: gleditsia fruit, Chinese honey locust

Literal Translation: “soap thorn”

Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Gleditsiae

Medica Category: Phlegm-Resolving Herbs

Properties: Zao Jiao enters the Large Intestine and Lung channel; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Zao Jiao?:

The Chinese Herb Zao Jiao is the dried fruit of the Chinese honey locust tree (Gleditsia sinensis Lam.) and is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The purplish-brown fruits are collected in the autumn when ripe, washed, and dried in the sun for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Zao Jiao:

Zao Jiao strongly disperses phlegm in the Lung channel to address chronic/stubborn accumulations of phlegm that present clinically as chest congestion and tightness, cough (w/sputum that is difficult to expectorate), and shortness of breath/wheezing.

Zao Jiao opens the sensory orifices and is used in TCM to resuscitate unconscious persons (from stroke or epilepsy)– with locked jaw, foaming of the mouth, and/or difficulty breathing.

Zao Jiao can be cooked with vinegar and made into a paste to reduce swelling and drain abscesses that are in their initial stages and have yet to ulcerate.

Zao Jiao induces peristalsis and is used to induce bowel movement in cases of constipation.

–safety notes:

Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Contraindicated for persons coughing or vomiting blood.

Zao Jiao is considered slightly toxic, and large doses/overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

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