Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena Root)
Chinese Herb Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena Root)
Zhi Mu, Anemarrhena Root, Anemarrhena Rhizome, Know Mother Root, Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bge.; Rhizoma Anemarrhenae
Bitter, Sweet, Cold
Lung, Stomach, Kidney
Quench Thirst, Reduce Fever, Moisten Dryness
Cultivated throughout China, Anemarrhena asphodeloides is a decorative plant with fragrant flowers. It is generally planted ornamentally. The rhizome of this plant is the part that is referred to as Zhi Mu in traditional Chinese medicine. This herb is most often dried before use and has been used traditionally in an oral wash to treat ulcers. Another use for this herb is by extract, which results in saponins, which can be used to treat lower back pain.
In the presence of irritability, restlessness, and a high fever that are an indication of Heat in the Qi Stage, Zhi Mu can be an appropriate remedy. It also helps to remove heat from the Lung and Stomach. Zhi Mu can also be used to nourish the Yin, especially when there are symptoms of Five Sole Heat, bleeding gums, and night sweats. In addition to moistening Dryness, Zhi Mu is great for generating fluids and quenching thirds that can be useful in patients with diabetes and oral ulcers. Zhi Mu works through gentile stimulation to provide a deep and systematic notification through the pituitary-adrenal cortex axis.
If a patient is concerned that certain herbs may be too drying (i.e Zhi Fu Zi, Huang Qi, and Gui Zhi), Zhi Mu can be used to ameliorate them. Other herbs that Zhi Mu is commonly combined with are Huang Bai, Tian Hua Fen, and Huang Qi. The Huang Bai is good for clearing Heat and afternoon fevers as well as urinary retention. Tian Hua Fen works with Zhi Mu on irritability, thirst, and diabetes. Lastly, the Huang Qi is good for assisting with excessive thirst.
As with all Chinese herbs, caution should be used when taking Zhi Mu. In this case, moderate doses can be responsible for cardiac depression and decreased blood pressure. Larger doses can cause a stop in respiration. In addition, patients with diarrhea, impotence (with quick arousal and ejaculation), and the inability to digest food should not use Zhi Mu because it is contradictory to those conditions. It is also important to exercise caution when using Zhi Mu with sulfonylureas and insulin or other drugs used as antidiabetics because the combination could lead to hypoglycemia.
The honey-prepared Anemarrhea (Chao Zhi Mu) is best for those who are too weak to take such strong cooling herbs but still have damaged Blood and fluids. While the traditional version Zhi My is best for burnout and fatigue. There is also indications that Zhi Mu may be fit to treat menopause.