Eucommia (Du Zhong)
Botanical Name: Eucommia ulmoides
Eucommia is a beloved tonic herb in China, used daily to build strength or as a medicine if one is weak. It is most noted for its ability to ease low back pain, knee and ankle pain. This includes difficulty with moving the legs due to deficient conditions. The Chinese note that using the herb for long periods of time will make your body grow light and contribute to the likelihood of longevity. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is a primary herb for tonifying Kidney Yang functions. It is known as both a powerful Yang and Jing tonic herb. Known for profoundly supporting the skeletal and endocrine systems, it can bed used to balance Yin and Yang making it useful for either men or woman, young or old.
Below is an overview of Eucommia (Du Zhong), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Eucommia (Du Zhong).
Western Name: Eucommia
Also Known As: Chinese Rubber Tree, Gutta-percha
Organs/Systems: Skeletal, Tendons
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Tonic, Anti-inflammatory, Adaptogen, Relaxant, Anti-aging. Strengthen bones and tendons, calm the fetus, prevent miscarriage, anxiety, stress, osteoporosis, arthritis, low back pain, knee pain, impotence, premature ejaculation, anti-aging.
Pin Yin: Du Zhong
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Kidney, Liver
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Warms Qi/Dries Damp: kidney Qi deficient conditions and invasion of Cold-Damp. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys/Strengthens the Sinews and Bones: sore, weak and painful lower back and knees, fatigue, frequent urination. Aids the flow of Qi and Blood: promotes circulation, especially when the person has weakness in the sinews and bones. It is a sexual tonic for men and women, slows ejaculation, promotes healing of damaged tissues, safely regulates and reduces high blood pressure. Calms the Fetus: for cold Kidney deficiency patterns with bleeding during pregnancy, prevents miscarriage when the fetus is restless, or when the woman is suffering from significant back pain with signs of deficiency.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Bark, Leaves, Seeds
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Slightly Acrid, Balanced, Warm
Caution: Very safe to use.
History/Folklore: The genus name Eucommia means “good gum,” referring to the plant’s latex and the name ulmoides derives from the plant’s leaves resembling those of the elm tree. The Chinese name, Du Zhong is said to have derived from the name of a man who took the herb and became enlightened, therefore the herb was named after him.
The bark is the most frequently used, but the leaves and seeds have been known to be incorporated into formulas.
It is an ancient tree species that dates back between10-35 million years ago. It is now an endangered species and it remains unclear if any species still survive in the wild. All eucommia is now cultivated for harvest.
Being a flexible tree in nature it is noted by the theory of the Doctrine of Signatures to promote strength and flexibility in the body.
Eucommia bark is considered by the Chinese to be a perfectly balanced Yin and Yang tonic herb. It is mentioned in ancient texts for mainly treating lower back and knee pain. It is said to supplement the center, boost the essence of Qi, strengthen the will and fortify the sinews and bones. Using it for over long periods of time is said to make the body light and slow aging.
Eucommia is one of the few herbs in Chinese tonic herbalism that is powerful enough, balanced enough and broad spectrum enough that it is often used alone. It is safe, mild and potent. As a tonic herb it is often blended with goji berries, licorice root, atractylodes, bupleurum and peony.
While eucommia is considered a balanced Yin/Yang herb, it is most often used to treat what is called Kidney Yang deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine. One of the best-known formulas and applications of the herb is for treating arthralgia, pain in the lumbar region and knees, with difficulty moving the legs, due to deficiency. While it is used alone it formulas it is typically used as a supporting herb with a larger combination of herbs included in the formula. It is rarely over 10% of a formula’s weight. Of herbs that tonify the Kidney in Traditional Chinese Medicine, eucommia is considered the strongest for tonifying the Kidney and is gentle in action in regulating Qi and Blood.
It is often combined with the herb dipsacus to treat injuries. It is said, “eucommia promotes the union of separated sinews and bones, while dipsacus promotes the knitting of the torn sinews and broken bones.” Together they are known to be mutually supportive. The Chinese describe eucommia as entering the Qi aspect of the Kidney Channel (tending to treat pain and aches) and dipsacus as entering the Blood aspect of the Kidney Channel (tending to treat stuck joints that are having difficulty moving especially of the lumbar area and knees). When used with cooked rehemannia it will supplement rehemannia without causing stagnation.
Eucommia is an excellent herb for the elderly to help maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis, ease arthritis pain and constriction of joints. A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine said, “Eucommia was found to demonstrate cartilage-protecting effects in rats with osteoarthritis.”
Eucommia is considered beneficial for post-menopausal women as a protection against brittle bones caused by the decrease of estrogen in the body.
In several recent studies, eucommia is showing effectiveness for non-alcholic fatty liver disease, caused primarily by obesity or type II diabetes.
It is said that eucommia is best when divided into two doses that are consumed twice a day. When being used as an energy tonic it is recommended that it be taken in the morning or afternoon.
The bark of the trunk is stripped off the tree in large segments, but never enough to kill the tree. The tree will quickly regenerate new bark in a few months. The trees must be at least ten years old, and preferably at least 15 years old, for the bark to be suitable.
They are no longer harvested in the wild but commercially cultivated to preserve the species. The bark is only harvested between April and June when the level of the bark’s constituents are at their highest. It is then folded so that the inner bark surfaces are facing together and left for a few days until the inner surfaces turn black. The bark is then dried in the sun with the coarse outer bark being stripped away. The visible white threads are the latex layers found within the bark.
Consuming eucommia will help strengthen willpower and resolve. It will also help encourage creativity and increase mental powers.
Numerous Iridoid and Lignan Glycosides, Calcium, Phytochemicals (Encommiol, Encommioside, Pinoresinol, Diglucoside), Flavonoids, Tannins.
An Ancient Herb
Eucommia is the second herb to ever be described in the 2,500 year old Chinese text, the Shennong.
Eucommia helps relieve stress and anxiety, protecting against adrenal failure.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
Eucommia helps clear foreign material from the blood stream through the white blood cells, helps to safely reduce high blood pressure.
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