Zhi Mu - Anemarrhena Rhizome

TCM Materia Medica

Zhi Mu TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "zhi mu" which in english is "anemarrhena rhizome", is categorized within the "herbs that drain fire" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the kidney, lung and stomach channels and exhibits bitter (ku) and cold (han) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 6-12g

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Clears heat, drains fire - high fever, irritability, thirst, and a rapid flooding pulse in patterns of excessive heat in the lungs and/or stomach; cough due to lung heat with thick yellow sputum.
  • Nourishes yin, moistens dryness - deficiency of lung and kidney yin, night sweats, steaming bone disorder, irritability, afternoon or low-grade fevers, bleeding gums, five-center heat; also for kidney heat signs - spermatorrhea, nocturnal emission, high sexual desire.
  • Generates fluids and clears heat - oral ulcers and inflammation due to yin deficiency, wasting and thirsting disorder.

Zhi Mu has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

  • Avoid in patients with diarrhea from spleen deficiency.

Our clinical staff have made the following notes, regarding zhi mu:

  • Ideal choice where heat has dried the yin fluid.
  • The herb may be fried in salt water to enhance the nourishing kidney function.
  • Often combined with tonifying/warming herbs when they may be too hot/drying (Huang Qi, Gui Zhi, Zhi Fu Zi, etc.).
  • Research has shown this herb to have antibacterial properties.

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, zhi mu is generally included in the following 14 formulas:

ViewBai Hu Wan (White Tiger Decoction)

In 6 channel theory, Yang ming channel heat or the "4 bigs" - big thirst, big sweat, big thirst, big pulse - accordingly, fever, thirst, profuse sweating, aversion to heat. Many symptoms may fit t…

ViewBi Yan Wan (Nose Inflammation Tablets)

For acute or chronic rhinitis resulting from the combination of lung qi deficiency and phlegm accumulation. Runny nose, sneezing, congestion due to phlegm. Can be used to treat for general cold or …

ViewChu Kou Wei Wan (Chu Kou Wei Wan)

Acid reflux and/or burning sensation in the epigastrium, throat, or mouth from stomach fire. Ulcers, sores, or other types of abcess in the mouth due to persistent stomach heat. Constant sense of h…

ViewEr Xian Wan (Two Immortal Decoction)

Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang deficiencies with Empty Heat - hormonal issues such as menopause (possibly w/hypertension), amenorrhea, hot flashes along with associated symptoms of fatigue, depression, i…

ViewJiang Ya Wan (Repress The Blood Pressure Pills)

Hypertension particularly with ascendent yang and heat signs - red face, red tongue, headaches, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, etc.

ViewLi Dan Wan (Benefit The Gallbladder Pills)

A range of gallbladder, liver and related digestive/obstructive issues - clears damp heat from the liver and gall bladder in TCM terms.  Symptoms may include gallstones and/or a range of digestive is…

ViewMai Men Dong Yin Zi Wan (Ophiopogon and Trichosanthes Combination)

Lung and stomach yin deficiency - this is a modified version of Mai Men Dong Tang - fei wei (lung atrophy) syndrome in Chinese Medicine - dry cough from yin fluid damage, generally arises from defici…

ViewQing Hao Bie Jia Wan (Artemisia Annua and Soft-Shelled Turtle Formula)

Heat at night (nightsweats, sensation of heat) with a sensation of coolness in the early morning/upon waking, no effect on appetite. Pulse will be fine and rapid and the Tongue will be red with l…

ViewShen Jing Shuai Ruo Wan (Stress Reducing Pill)

For common variants of the modern western lifestyle - in Chinese Medicine terms, calms the spirit, balance liver and kidney yin, for a range of psycho-emotional and physical issues from chronic stres…

ViewSuan Zao Ren Wan (Sour Jujube Decoction)

Shen related issues when arising from liver blood deficiency - anxiety, insomnia. Menopausal heat contributing to sleep and/or anxiety issues. Palpitations, night sweats, and general dryness.

ViewTe Xiao Zao Ren An Mian Wan (Peaceful Sleep Tablets)

Insomnia, vivid dreaming, nightmares. Acute emotional instability. May be used to treat convulsions or spasms that are caused by a combination of blood deficiency with wind.

ViewXiao Feng Wan (Clear Wind Pill)

Itchy and red skin lesions, possibly with weeping -psoriasis, eczema, acne, etc. Topical allergic response, dermatitis -poison ivy, oak, sumac. Acute [allergic] edema in the limbs.  

ViewXin Yi Qing Fei Wan (Magnolia Flower Drink To Clear The Lungs)

Colds and/or allergies with heat signs (yellow mucus and/or fever, etc.). Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell. Nasal polyps with the right underly…

ViewZhi Bai Di Huang Wan (Eight Flavor Rehmannia Teapills)

Steaming bone syndrome - dry and intensive persuasive sensation of heat possibly with flushing and tidal fever. Dizziness, vertigo, tinnitis, anxiety and restlessness resulting from yin deficiency. …

As noted above, zhi mu is within the herbs that drain fire functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... very cold - for high fever, irritability, thirst, delirium associated with febrile disease. qi level or yang ming level disorders. )".

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