Herbs That Drain Dampness

Herbs That Drain Dampness:

  • There are two main types of dampness:
    1. Accumulation of fluids in the body - edema, congested fluids (respiratory and digestive system).
      • These herbs are good for edema below the waist in the lower extremities.
      • Acute edema should be combined with herbs that release the exterior.
      • Chronic edema should be combined with herbs that tonify qi and yang of spleen and kidneys.
    2. Dampness complicated with heat - combine with clearing damp-heat herbs.
      • Heat signs of fever, burning sensation, yellow discharges with stagnation symptoms of distention and fullness.
      • Lin syndrome (painful urination), Shi Wen (warm febrile disease), damp sores and jaundice all fit under this category.
  • The main method of treatment is to increase the production of urine.
  • Use with caution in cases of yin deficiency and/or depleted fluids.

Section Herbal Summary:

Chinese Herbsort icon Functions and Usage
Ban Bian Lian (Lobelia)
  • Promotes urination and reduces edema - ascites.
  • Cools the blood and reduces toxicity - good for snake bites and wasp stings.
Bei Xie (Dioscorea Root)
  • Separates the pure from the turbid - cloudy urine and leukorrhea, either from damp-heat or deficiency.
  • Expels wind damp (cold and hot bi syndromes), relaxes the sinews.
  • Damp-heat - skin disorders (eczema, pustular sores).
Bian Xu (Knotweed, Polygonoum)
  • Clears damp-heat in the bladder - promotes urination, damp-heat lin.
  • Expels parasites - intestinal parasites.
  • Damp skin lesions - itching.
Che Qian Zi (Plantago Seeds)
  • Promotes urination, clears heat - edema, lin syndromes due to damp-heat, generally in the lower warmer.
  • Solidifies the stool - diarrhea with damp-heat or damp-summerheat.
  • Clears the eyes - liver and kidney deficiency (dry eyes or cataracts) or heat in the liver channel (red, painful, swollen eyes and sensitive to light).
  • Lung heat - expels phlegm, stops cough.
Chi Xiao Dou (Aduki Bean)
  • Clears heat, promotes urination - abdominal fullness and swelling due to edema, urinary difficulty, leg qi edema; the nature of this herb is to move downward and relieve edema by water or dampness drained from the body.
  • Disperses blood stasis - reduces swelling and fire toxicity, sores, carbuncles.
  • Clears damp heat - jaundice.
Deng Xin Cao (Rush Pith)
  • Promotes urination and leaches out dampness - heat disorders with lin syndrome.
  • Clears heat from the heart channel into the small intestine (expelled through the urine) - pediatric sleep disorders with heat signs at night accompanied by irritability and scanty urination; adult insomnia (heart fire with kidney yin deficiency).
Di Fu Zi (Broom Cyprus Fruit)
  • Clears damp heat, promotes urination - lin syndrome due to damp heat in the bladder.
  • Expels dampness, stops itching - damp skin disorders, eczema, scabies, damp-heat in the external genitals.
Dong Gua Ren (Winter Melon Seed)
  • Clears lung and intestinal heat, expels phlegm, discharges pus - thick, sticky, yellow phlegm, damp-heat with phlegm obstruction in the upper/lower jiao (lung/intestinal abscess).
  • Clears heat, drains dampness - leukorrhea due to damp-heat.
Dong Kui Zi (Musk Mallow Seeds)
  • Promotes urination - lin syndromes (hot, xue, stone), edema without lin issues, constipation.
  • Benefits the breasts - insufficient lactation, painful swollen breasts, breast abscess.
  • Moisten and unblocks the bowels.
Fu Ling (Poria, China Root)
  • Promotes urination, drains dampness, transforms phlegm - urinary difficulty, diarrhea, edema, headache, dizziness, greasy tongue coat.
  • Strengthens the spleen, harmonizes the middle jiao - diarrhea, loss of appetite.
  • Quiets the heart and calms the spirit - palpitations, insomnia, forgetfulness.
Guang Fang Zi (Aristolochia Root, Stephania)
  • Expels wind-damp-heat - diffuse aches and pains, thirst, yellow, greasy tongue coat.
  • Promotes urination and reduces edema (facial or systemic) with wheezing or leg qi.
Han Fang Zi (Stephania Root)
  • Promotes urination, reduces edema - lower extremity edema, borborygmus, abdominal distention, ascites from lower jiao damp accumulation.
  • Expels wind-damp-heat, alleviates pain - fever, red, swollen, hot, painful joints.
Hua Shi (Talcum Powder)
  • Promotes urination, drains heat from the bladder - important herb for hot lin syndromes, also for damp heat generated diarrhea.
  • Clears heat, summer heat (w/urinary difficult) and damp-heat through urine.
  • Absorbs dampness (oozing eczema) - used topically for damp skin lesions.
Jin Qian Cao (Lysimachia, Whole Plant)
  • Promotes urination, important herb for stone lin syndromes (also helps for other lin types).
  • Clears damp-heat in the liver and gallbladder - jaundice, red, swollen eyes.
  • Reduces toxicity and swelling - snakebit, abscess, traumatic injury.
Mu Tong (Akebia Caulis)
  • Promotes urination, drains heat from the heart through the small intestine - irritability with sores of the mouth or tongue, scanty urination, lin syndrome, edema.
  • Promotes lactation, unblocks the blood vessels - insufficient lactation, less commonly for amenorrhea and bi-syndrome.
Qu Mai (Dianthus)
  • Clears damp heat, promotes urination, unblocks lin syndrome - for any lin, especially xue lin.
  • Breaks up blood stasis - amenorrhea due to blood stasis.
  • Unblocks the bowels - constipation.
Shi Wei (Pyrrosia Leaves)
  • Promotes urination, drains damp-heat from the bladder - hot, stone, xue lin.
  • Clears heat and stops bleeding - vomiting, uterine bleeding.
  • Clears the lungs, expels phlegm, relieves cough - lung heat, wheezing.
Tong Cao (Rice Paper Pith)
  • Promotes urination and clears heat - for damp warm febrile disease or damp-heat lin.
  • Promotes lactation.
Yi Yi Ren (Seeds of Job's Tears)
  • Promotes urination, drains dampness - edema, difficult urination, damp leg qi.
  • Strengthens the spleen, stops diarrhea.
  • Clears heat and expels pus - carbuncles, lung or intestinal abscesses.
  • Expels wind-damp, relieves joint and muscle pain.
  • Clears damp-heat - any damp-heat disorder at any level with greasy tongue coating and digestive problems.
Yin Chen Hao (Yin Chen Hao Shoots and Leaves)
  • Main herb for Jaundice.
  • Clears damp heat from the liver and gallbladder - relieves jaundice (either damp heat or cold).
  • Clears heat, shao yang syndrome (intermittent fever and chills, bitter taste, stifling sensation in the chest, flank pain, dizziness, nausea).
Yu Mi Xu (Cornsilk)
  • Promotes urination - hot lin, stone lin, edema.
  • Regulates the gallbladder - yin or yang jaundice.
  • Wasting and thirsting disorder.
Ze Xie (Water Plantain Root)
  • Promotes urination, drains damp-heat in the lower burner - urinary difficulty, edema, diarrhea.
  • Drains deficient kidney fire - heat signs, dizziness, tinnitus.
Zhu Ling (Polyporus Sclerotium)
  • Promotes urination, drains dampness - edema, scanty urination, cloudy painful urination, vaginal discharge, jaundice, diarrhea.