Dong Gua Zi – Chinese Wax Gourd Seed – Semen Benincasae

Dong Gua Zi

English Name: benincasa, Chinese wax gourd seed

Literal Translation: “winter melon seed”

Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Benincasae

Medica Category: Water-Regulating and Damp-Resolving Herbs

Properties: Dong Gua Zi enters the Lung, Stomach, Small Intestine, and Large Intestine channels; it is sweet in nature and cool in temperature.

What is Dong Gua Zi?:

The Chinese Herb Dong Gua Zi is dried Chinese wax gourd seed (aka winter melon– Benincasa hipsida (Thunb.) Cogn.). The plant itself is an annual vine widely distributed throughout Asia; the mature fruits will have developed a wax coating during growing process making them ideal for storing and eating through the course of the winter. When the seeds are removed from the mature fruit, they are dried (ideally in the sun) before being used as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Dong Gua Zi:

Dong Gua Zi clears heat, moistens the Lung, and eliminates phlegm and dampness from the Lung, Large Intestine and Small Intestine channels.  This makes Dong Gua Zi useful for a wide variety of presentations, treating: lung and intestinal abscesses (as with the formula Da Huang Mu Dan Tang) and Lung Heat presentations with expectoration of thick, yellow sputum (e.g. bronchitis or pneumonia) as well as edema and dysuria (with associated heat signs).