She Gan commonly known as Rhizoma Belamcanda is the rhizome of Belamcanda chinensis, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Iridaceae. It first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).
Belamcanda chinensis is also known as Leopard lily, Blackberry lily, or Leopard flower and is an ornamental plant. In 2005, based on evidence from the molecular DNA sequence, it was renamed Iris domestica. But the old name is still in general use.
This plant is cold-resistant and drought-tolerant. It often grows on forest edges or hillside grasslands at low altitudes. It native to East Asia and has been widely introduced and cultivated. It is now mainly distributed in temperate and subtropical regions. In many places, it has escaped from cultivation, particularly in the USA.
In addition, It is also commonly used in traditional medicine in India, Korea, and Japan. Recently, a monograph of Belamcandae chinensis rhizoma has been included in the European Pharmacopeia.
In the early spring and late autumn of each year, people gather the rhizomes of Belamcanda chinensis, wash them with water, remove their impurities and fibrous roots, moisten them thoroughly, cut them into slices, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.
She Gan contains belamcandin, tectoridin, iridin, tectorigenin, tectorigenin A, irigenin, tectorigenin B, irisflorentin, dichotomitin, mangiferin, bicyclic triterpenes, and phenols.
Generally, the strong and solid one with yellowish cross-section is the best.
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of She Gan is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung meridian.
In Chinese medicine, She Gan is often used to clear heat and remove toxin, eliminate phlegm and relieve sore throat, treat bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, pharyngitis, chronic sinusitis, chyluria, impotence, and paddy-field dermatitis.
About 50 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions contain it, such as Bie Jia Jian Wan, Shegan-Mahuang Decoction, and Watermelon Frost Spray.
Health benefits of She Gan
- Anti-inflammation, anti-allergen, and anti-tumor.
- Anti-oxidation, scavenging H2O2, hydroxyl radical, and superoxide anion.
- Inhibiting influenza virus, adenovirus, Echovirus, Coxsackie virus, herpes virus.
- Inhibiting platelet aggregation and preventing thrombosis.
- Reducing the damage of CCL4 to liver tissue and protecting the liver.
- Inducing diuresis and having antipyretic and analgesic effects.
- Lowering hyperglycemia and high serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, and very-low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, preventing diabetes and concurrent certificate.
- Promoting saliva and bile secretion, and inhibiting gastric ulcers, and small intestinal diarrhea caused by castor oil.
- Removing heat toxins, relieving throat swelling and pain caused by heat toxins or the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
- Dispelling wind and heat, relieving sore throat and hoarse voice caused by wind-heat.
- Eliminating yellow phlegm, and relieving cough and wheezing caused by lung heat.
- Eliminating white thin phlegm and treating cough and wheezing due to lung plugged by cold phlegm.
- Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus A, Streptococcus B, Pneumococcus, Meningococcus, Escherichia coli, Typhoid, Paratyphoid, Haemophilus influenzae, and Helicobacter pylori.
- Inhibiting pathogenic superficial fungi, such as Trichophyton rubrum, trichophyton gypseum, Microsporum lanosum, Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton violaceum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Microsporium canis.
- It contains phytoestrogens, which can inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cells, but does not promote the proliferation of the uterus and breast.
She Gan is used with other Chinese herbs
- It with Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) can treat throat swelling and pain caused by the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
- It with Jing Jie (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae), and Niu Bang Zi (Fructus Arctii) can treat sore throat and hoarse voice caused by wind-heat.
- It with Sang Bai Pi (Cortex Mori) and Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi) can eliminate yellow phlegm, and relieve cough and wheezing caused by lung heat.
- It with Ma Huang (Ephedra), Xi Xin (Asarum), Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger), and Ban Xia (Pinellia Rhizome) can treat cough and wheezing due to lung plugged by cold phlegm.
- It with Shan Dou Gen (Radix Sophorae Tonkinensis), Xin Yi Hua (Flos Magnoliae), Xi Xin (Asarum), and Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae) can treat chronic sinusitis.
Side effects of She Gan
Clinically, there have been reports of diarrhea caused by taking She Gan, but there is no report of poisoning after taking it.
A small proportion of patients taking it may cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or watery stools.
Precautions of She Gan
- The dosage of She Gan should be controlled at 3-9g.
- It can be made into decoction, pills, or ground into powder for external use.
- People with loose stools caused by spleen deficiency should not take it.
- People with a deficiency of both qi and blood should not take it.
- People without syndromes of excess heat should not take it.
- Pregnant women and children should not take it.