What Is Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae or Cape Jasmine Fruit)

Zhi Zi also known as Fructus Gardeniae or Cape Jasmine Fruit is the ripe fruit of Gardenia Jasminoides, which is an evergreen shrub of the family Rubiaceae. It has more than 2,000 years of medicinal history and can be used as food.

Gardenia Jasminoides often grows in hills, valleys, hillsides or thickets at an altitude of 10-1500 meters. It is native to Asia and can be found in China, Japan, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Pacific Islands, and northern America.

Zhi Zi was the most widely used yellow dye in the Qin and Han dynasties (BC 221-AD 220). Archaeological studies have confirmed that the yellow dyed fabric unearthed from Mawangdui was dyed by it. Because the fabric dyed by Zhi Zi has poor sun fastness, the sophora flower was used to replace it as a dye since the Song Dynasty.

From September to November each year, people gather ripe fruits of Gardenia Jasminoides, remove their pedicels and impurities, use them directly or carbonize them to make Chinese herbs.

Zhi Zi contains gardenoside, shanzhiside, gardo-side, geniposide, chlorogenic acid, D-mannitol, β-sitosterol, choline, lutein, crocin, cro-cetin, ursolic acid. The plump Zhi Zi with thin-skinned and reddish-yellow color is the best.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Zhi Zi is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the heart, lung, and san jiao Meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Zhi Zi is often used to clear heat and drain damp, cool blood and remove toxin, and treat conjunctivitis, jaundice, toothache, oral ulcers, and high fever caused by febrile diseases.

About 300 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions contain Zhi Zi, such as Angong Niuhuang wan, Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan, Long Dan Xie Gan Wan, and Ba Zheng San.

Health benefits of Zhi Zi

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-pathogen, and anti-oxidation.
  • Inhibiting the central nervous system and having sedative, analgesic and anticonvulsant effects.
  • Inducing defecation and relieving constipation.
  • Reducing myocardial contractility, slowing heart rate, and lowering blood pressure.
  • Dilating blood vessels and preventing atherosclerosis.
  • Shrinking the gallbladder, promoting bile secretion, lowering serum bilirubin and glutamic oxalacetic transaminase.
  • Promoting pancreas secretion, lowering pancreatic enzyme and pancreatic amylase, and treating pancreatitis.
  • Reducing heart fire, treating high fever, irritability, and delirium caused by febrile diseases.
  • Promoting urination and treating jaundice, difficult and painful urination, scanty dark urine, hematuria.
  • Cooling blood and treating hematemesis and epistaxis caused by blood heat.
  • Clearing heat, relieving redness and congestion of eyes, and treating mouth ulcers and skin sores caused by heat toxins.
  • Reducing blood clotting time, relieving swelling and pain, and treating closed soft tissue injury.
  • Inhibiting some skin fungi, staphylococcus aureus, meningococcus, mlicrococcus catarrhalis, corynebacterium diphtheriae, typhoid bacillus.
  • The study confirmed that its decoction can kill leptospira and adult Schistosoma.

Zhi Zi is used with other Chinese herbs

  • It with Dan Dou Chi (Fermented Soybeans) can clear the heart fire and treat the upset and restlessness caused by febrile diseases.
  • It with Mu Tong (Caulis Akebiae), Che Qian Cao (Plantago Asiatica), and Hua Shi (Talcum) to relieve difficult and painful urination and hematuria.
  • It with Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae), Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae), and Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion) to relieve skin redness and pain caused by heat toxins.
  • It with Bai Mao Cen (Rhizoma Imperatae), Da Huang (Rhubarb Root) and Ce Bai Ye (Cacumen Platycladi) to treat hematemesis and epistaxis caused by blood heat.
  • It with Yin Chen (Capillary Wormwood) and Da Huang (Rhubarb Root) can promote urination and treat damp-heat jaundice.
  • It with Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) and Huang Bai (Cortex Phellodendri) can alleviate the high fever, irritability, and delirium caused by the heat accumulation in the san jiao.

Side effects of Zhi Zi

Zhi Zi has been used clinically for many years, with almost no side effects.

Overdose of it may cause dizziness, palpitations, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, excessive urination, general weakness, cold sweats, and in severe cases may cause coma.

Precautions of Zhi Zi

  • The dosage of Zhi Zi should be controlled at 5-10g.
  • It can be made into decoction, tea, pills or ground into powder for external use.
  • It should not be used to treat sore throat and headaches caused by wind-cold, wind-heat, or the flaring up of deficiency fire.
  • The unprocessed Zhi Zi recommended for reducing fire, and the carbonized Zhi Zi recommended for cooling blood and stopping bleeding.
  • People with deficiency-cold in spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with diarrhea or chronic diarrhea should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.