Gui Zhi (Cinnamon Twig, Ramulus Cinnamomi, Cassia Twig)

Gui Zhi is also known as Ramulus Cinnamomi, or Cassia Twig and is the twig of Cinnamon, which is an evergreen tree belonging to Lauraceae. It has a medicinal history of more than 2000 years.

Cinnamon originated in Asia and is now distributed in China, India, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Most cinnamon is grown artificially.

Cinnamon is a cash crop and medicinal crop. Its trunk can be made into furniture, and its bark is a spice commonly used in kitchens. Some cosmetics, chocolates, cigarettes, and medicines contain its extracts.

In spring and summer of each year, people gather the twigs of cinnamon, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun or the shade, cut them into thin slices, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Gui Zhi contains organic acids, polysaccharides, glycosides, coumarin, tannins, and volatile oils. The best Gui Zhi is uniform in shape, red-brown or brown in cross-section, with a special fragrance.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Gui Zhi is relatively warm, with a pungent and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart, lung and bladder meridians.

In Chinese medicine, it is often used to promote urination and treat rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, and dysmenorrhea.

There are about 200 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine formulas containing Gui Zhi, such as Gui Zhi Tang, Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, and Fang Feng Tong Sheng Wan.

Health benefits of Gui Zhi

  • Anti-pathogen, anti-inflammation, anti-coagulation, and immunosuppression.
  • Nourishing the stomach and relieving gastrointestinal cramps.
  • Inhibiting the central nervous system, having analgesic and sedative, anticonvulsant effect.
  • Dilating peripheral blood vessels, enhancing blood circulation and cardiac function, and avoiding myocardial ischemia.
  • Promoting sweat gland secretion and urination, eliminating edema.
  • Relieving rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint pain.
  • Supplementing heart yang, relieving blood stasis in the heart vessels, palpitations, chest pain.
  • Treating amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, eliminating abdominal masses.
  • Treating dizziness, fever, aversion to cold, cough, and phlegm caused by wind-cold.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, typhoid and human tubercle bacilli, dermatophytes, and influenza viruses.

Gui Zhi is used with other Chinese herbs

  • Gui Zhi with Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower) and Zhi Ke (Fructus Aurantii) can alleviate neurodermatitis.
  • Gui Zhi with Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) and Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) can treat irregular menstruation, relieve dysmenorrhea and postpartum abdominal pain.
  • Gui Zhi with Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Sheng Jiang (Fresh Ginger), Hong Zao (Fructus Jujubae), and Fu Zi (Aconitum carmichaelii) can alleviate rheumatic arthritis and sciatica.
  • Gui Zhi with Ma Huang (Ephedra), Xing Ren (Semen Armeniacae), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root) can treat fever, aversion to cold, cough, and asthma caused by wind-cold.
  • Gui Zhi with Fu Ling (Poria Cocos), and Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) can alleviate dysuria, abdominal pain, and edema caused by the deficiency of heart yang or spleen yang.

Side effects of Gui Zhi

Gui Zhi has been in clinical use for many years with almost no side effects.

Excessive use of it may cause adverse reactions such as sweating, tiredness, weakness of the limbs, palpitations, dizziness, eye swelling, dry mouth, oliguria, and burning sensation of the urethra.

Precautions of Gui Zhi

  • The dosage of Gui Zhi should be controlled at 3-10g.
  • It contains volatile oil, so it is not suitable for long-term decocting. It can be made into tea.
  • The elderly and infirm should reduce its dosage appropriately.
  • It should not be used to treat fever and cough caused by febrile disease.
  • It should not be used in conjunction with Chi Shi Zhi (Halloysitum Rubrum) or Bai Shi Zhi (Halloysitum Album).
  • Pregnant women or women with the excessive menstrual flow should not take it.
  • People with hemoptysis and vomiting should not take it.
  • People with yin deficiency should not take it.