Yi Zhi Ren – Alpina Fruit – Fructus Alpinae Oxyphyllae

Yi Zhi Ren

English Name: alpine fruit, sharp-leaf galangal fruit

Literal Translation: “benefit the intelligence seed”

Pharmaceutical Name: Fructus Alpinae Oxyphyllae

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Yi Zhi Ren enters the Kidney and Spleen channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Yi Zhi Ren?:

The Chinese Herb Yi Zhi Ren is the dried fruit of the sharp leaf galangal plant (aka black cardamom– Alpinia oxyphylla Miq.), which is a small herbaceous perennial that grows wild in South China. It flowers in the summer and produces fruits which are harvested when they ripen. The fruits are then sun-dried for use as medicine. Unprocessed, Yi Zhi Ren has a marked drying effect to address stomach and middle jiao issues; it can also be salt-fried, which directs it toward the Kidney (see section directly below).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Yi Zhi Ren:

Yi Zhi Ren is a warming digestive and Kidney tonic, fortifying yang in both the Spleen and Kidney. Unprocessed, Yi Zhi Ren warms the Spleen to address chronic, watery diarrhea/loose stools, abdominal cold, fullness, and pain with excessive salivation. Salt-fried, it is directed to the Kidney where it addresses deficiency and cold (i.e. it warms the Kidney) and consolidates fluids to address spermatorrhea, enuresis, frequent nocturnal urinary urges/urination, uterine bleeding, and clear/watery leukorrhea.

–safety/clinical notes:

Contraindicated for persons with yin-deficient fire.

Contraindicated for use when symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and urinary incontinence are caused by qi stagnation and/or heat.