Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae)

Shan Yao

Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae) is from the rhizome of Dioscorea Opposite Thunb., family Dioscoreaceae. The medicinal material is harvested and processed in the winter. It is washed, peeled and then steamed. After drying it is then softened and sliced for use. It can be used in its crude form or after stir-baking with bran.

Category: Tonifying – Qi Tonifying.

Common Name: Chinese Yam; Dioscorea Rhizome.

Channels Entered: Spleen, Lung and Kidney.

Properties and Functions: Shan Yao is sweet in flavour and mild in nature. Its 3 main functions are:

  • Tonifying the Spleen and Stomach.
  • Tonifying the Lung Qi, augmenting Lung Yin and promoting production of body fluids.
  • Tonifying the Kidney to stabilise and preserve the Essence (Jing).

Indications: Shan Yao is used clinically for:

  • Deficiency of Spleen and Stomach with poor appetite, spontaneous sweating, fatigue and loose stool or diarrhoea.
  • Chronic cough with shortness of breath and wheezing due to Lung deficiency.
  • Kidney deficiency with seminal emission, frequent urination and leucorrhagia.
  • Consumptive disorder – diabetes – with consumption of body fluids due to Yin deficiency accompanied by thirst.

Dosage: 9 – 30g. For use in treating consumption relating to diabetes, between 60 – 250g is recommended and should be taken to substitute tea on a daily basis for a long course.

Cautions and Contra-Indications: Contra-indicated for use in cases with excessive Dampness in the Stomach or with stagnation.