Tu Si Zi – Dodder Seed – Semen Cuscutae

Tu Si Zi

English Name: cuscuta, dodder seed

Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Cuscutae

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Tu Si Zi enters the Liver and Kidney channels; it is acrid and sweet in nature and neutral in temperature.

What is Tu Si Zi?:

The Chinese Herb Tu Si Zi is the dried, ripe seeds of the dodder plant, a thread-like parasitic vine that grows in forests in woodlands mainly in Liaoning, Jilin and Hebei provinces in China (Cuscuta chinensis Lam; alternately C. japonica Choisy). It was commonly used in China since ancient times to tonify the Liver and Kidney and was considered a superior herb in this regard (as it tonifies both yin and yang simultaneously). In modern times, the seeds are dried and ground for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Tu Si Zi:

Tu Si Zi tonifies both yin and yang of the Kidney (stronger action for the yang) and consolidates jing (essence) to address enuresis and urinary incontinence as well as other forms of fluid leakage such as spermatorrhea, leukorrhea, and uterine bleeding.

Tu Si Zi nourishes the Liver to brighten the eyes and address blurred vision, spots in the visual field, and dry eyes.

Tu Si Zi addresses diarrhea/watery loose stools and poor appetite (and restores proper digestive functioning) when deficient Kidney yang fails to warm the yang of the Spleen.

Tu Si Zi is used to address xiao ke (wasting and thirsting syndrome), either fresh juice as a single-herb remedy or dried and combined in formula.

–safety/clinical notes:

Use with caution in persons with yin-deficient heat signs (especially if they are easily sexually aroused).

Use with caution for persons with dryness, constipation, or scanty, dark urine.