English Name: gardenia, cape jasmine fruit
Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Gardeniae
Medica Category: Heat-Clearing and Fire-Purging Herbs
Properties: Zhi Zi enters the Heart, Lung, Stomach, and San Jiao channels; it is bitter in nature and cold in temperature.
Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) is an evergreen shrub native to Southern China known for its white, showy, and strongly fragrant flowers (and is cultivated as an ornamental because of this). The flowers bloom in the summer and autumn, and after they wither, small fruits sprout. These fruits ripen (turn reddish-orange) and are harvested between September and November. The Chinese Herb Zhi Zi are these ripened fruits (which are either left unprocessed or stir-fried for use as medicine).
Zhi Zi clears heat and sedates fire in all three jiaos and is most effective when heat is predominant in the Heart, Stomach and Lungs. It is useful in treating a wide variety of conditions caused by excess heat causing irritability.
Zhi Zi drains damp-heat downward: from the Liver channel (to treat such clinical presentations as jaundice, infectious hepatitis, and cholecystitus); from the lower jiao (to treat urinary tract infections and dysuria accompanied by burning sensations.
Zhi Zi cools the blood and is used to treat various bleeding disorders (with heat) such as hematuria (blood in the urine), hemoptysis (coughing up blood), hematemesis (vomiting up blood), and epitaxsis (nosebleeds).
Zhi Zi mixed with water, rice-wine vinegar and egg whites and mixed into a paste and applied topically is used traditionally in China to treat bruises and swellings associated with trauma.
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