Da Ji – Euphorbia – Knoxia – Radix Euphorbiae seu Knoxiae

Da Ji

English Name: euphorbia, knoxia

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Euphorbiae seu Knoxiae

Medica Category: Downward Draining Herbs—Harsh Expellants (Cathartics)

Properties: Da Ji enters the Spleen, Kidney, and Large Intestine channels; it is bitter and acrid in nature, cold in temperature, and considered extremely toxic according to TCM theory.

What is Da Ji?:

The Chinese Herb Da Ji is the dried roots of one of two different plants: Euphorbia pekinensis Rupr. (commonly known in English as euphorbia and in pinyin transliteration as Jing Da Ji); or Knoxia valerianoides Thorel (commonly known in English as knoxia and in pinyin transliteration as Hong Da Ji). It is native to Japan but naturalized throughout Asia; in China, it grows in grasslands and on mountain slopes in central and southern China. The roots are harvested in the early spring, cleaned, and sun-dried in preparation for use as medicine. Processing the roots with vinegar reduces their toxicity, and its harsh properties (that irritate the stomach) can be reduced by cooking the roots in jujube dates and honey.

Da Ji is a very strong purgative that is only used in specific circumstances for targeted effects (ideally by trained TCM practitioners (see below).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Da Ji:

Da Ji purges water downwards and eliminates accumulations; it is used as a harsh cathartic and diuretic used for accumulation of fluids in the abdomen and chest areas. It is indicated to address the clinical presentation of ascites involving edema of the face and extremities as well other severe occurrences of congestion and water accumulation in the chest and flanks.

Da Ji reduces swelling and dissipates nodules and can be used topically to address sores, lesions, abscesses, and scrofula.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Contraindicated for weak persons and those with any kind of deficiency in their pattern; also contraindicated for those with a history of stomach ulcers, upper GI bleeding, cardiovascular disorders, or impairment of kidney function.

Da Ji is a potent cathartic and should be used with extreme caution and only when necessary.

Use of Da Ji should be alternated with use of herbs that tonify Spleen qi to prevent overconsumption of qi.

Da Ji (Radix Euphorbia seu Knoxia) and Da Ji (Herba seu Radix Cirsii Japonici) have identical pinyin names but are distinctly different herbs with totally different functions and care should be taken not to mix them up.