Vietnamese balm (Xiang Ru)

Vietnamese balm is also called Xiang Ru, Kinh Gioi, or Elsholtzia ciliata, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Lamiaceae. It has a medical history of more than 1,600 years, and all parts of it can be made into medicine.

This plant is native to Asia and is now grown in most countries in the northern hemisphere. It grows at an altitude of 1,500-3,400 meters.

After the fruits of Vietnamese balm mature, people pick them, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, cut them into sections and make them into Chinese herbs.

According to <compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Vietnamese balm is relatively warm, with a spicy taste and fragrance. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, spleen and stomach meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Vietnamese balm is often used to treat the symptoms of fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea caused by wind-cold in summer.

There are about 30 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine formulas containing Vietnamese balm, such as Xiang Ru San, Chang Yan Lin, and Ru Zhu Wan.

Health benefits of Vietnamese balm

  • Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic effects.
  • Stimulating secretion of digestive gland and promoting gastrointestinal peristalsis.
  • Relieving the spasm of ileum and inhibiting the anaphylactic contraction of the ileum.
  • Increasing urine volume, removing dampness, and treating dysuria.
  • Treating edema caused by nephritis or athlete’s foot.
  • Treating gastrointestinal cold, acute gastroenteritis, and acute bacterial dysentery.
  • Treating fever, headache, abdominal pain, and vomiting caused by summer-dampness.
  • Treating fever, headache, greasy fur, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and syndrome of dampness stagnancy due to spleen deficiency caused by wind-cold.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus type B, Shigella flexneri, and Meningococcus.

Vietnamese balm is used with other Chinese herbs

  • Vietnamese balm with Pei Lan (Eupatorium fortunei) can treat fever, aversion to cold, and headache caused by wind-cold in summer.
  • Vietnamese balm with Bai Mao Cen (Rhizoma Imperatae) can treat oliguria, urodynia, dark yellow urine, and hematochezia.
  • Vietnamese balm with Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) and Hua Shi (Talcum) can treat dysphoria and dysuria.
  • Vietnamese balm with Fu Ling (Poria Cocos) and Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) can treat edema caused by nephritis or athlete’s foot.
  • Vietnamese balm with Hou Po (Magnolia Bark) and Bian Dou (White Hyacinth Bean) can treat fever, headache, abdominal pain, and vomiting caused by aversion to cold.

Side effects of Vietnamese balm

It has been used in the clinic for many years and has almost no side effects.

Excessive use of it may cause a lot of sweating, electrolyte disorder, fatigue, palpitation, shortness of breath, aversion to cold and other symptoms.

Precaution of Vietnamese balm

  • The dosage of Vietnamese balm should be controlled at 3-10g.
  • It contains volatile oil, so it is not suitable for long-term decocting. It can be made into teas.
  • It should not be used to treat the symptoms of fever, restlessness, thirst caused by summer-heat.
  • Pregnant women and children should not take it.
  • People with qi or yin deficiency should not take it.
  • People with hyperhidrosis should not take it.