Rehmannia Root

The luscious, black, moon-like discs of rehmannia root

Right now, in the middle of a heat wave, it is pleasant to look up into the dark, night-time sky and reflect on the moon. It looks so cool and white out there among the stars. It glows in a way that refreshes, in comparison to the more glaring, strident rays of the sun.

In Chinese medicine, the moon is said to be cooling and yin, in contrast to the sun’s hot, yang brightness. It symbolizes such qualities as femininity, delicacy, darkness, gentleness, and renewal. And as the moon reflects these qualities, so does our herb of the month: unprocessed rehmannia root.

Rehmannia root, particularly the unprocessed version, is a wonderfully cooling herb. In contrast to the stronger, more forceful heat clearing properties of an herb like Chinese gentian (last month’s monograph), it cools gently, like the moon. It soothes and nourishes depleted and dried out tissues, plumping them up and adding a glow. It’s gentle, moistening qualities makes it good at relieving all symptoms related to dryness, such as deep thirst, dry mouth and throat, or dry constipation.

Rehmannia root also resembles the shape of the moon, being traditionally cut into a round, disc-like shapes. It is dark in colour, calling to mind the new moon and its mysterious qualities. And interestingly, its effects are felt most strikingly in the evening and night, as it helps to clear away hot flashes, night sweats, and low-grade afternoon fever.

Unprocessed rehmannia root has a specific action on the heart, the seat of emotion and compassion. It cools gently, without depleting. And since a cool, well nourished heart is essential for good sleep, rehmannia’s soothing qualities can be very helpful in curbing sleep issues, when the moon shines most brightly.

Finally, unprocessed rehmannia root is excellent at stopping any episodes of unexplained bleeding, such as bloody nose, spitting of blood, blood in the urine, or excessive menstrual bleeding. When blood escapes from tissues like this, it is said to be due to too much “heat” in the blood. By directly cooling the blood, rehmannia root calms its stormy nature, and keeps it contained so that unexplained bleeding is stopped.

Raw rehmannia root is one of the ingredients in our Shou Wu Plus tincture, a product I often recommend to people after they have completed a long period of liver and gallbladder flushing. It moistens tissues and nourishes organs that may have become depleted through the cleansing process. It cools the heart, liver and kidneys and can improve sleep. Because it nourishes the heart so effectively, it can also help to quell feelings of anxiety, agitation, and nervousness.

If you think your body would benefit from the gentle, compassionate, soothing qualities of the moon, why not give our Shou Wu Plus tincture a try?

About the author: Rebecca Wong has an honours degree in English Literature from the University of Waterloo, and has been working in the herbal business since 2000. She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

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