Jing Jie - Schizonepeta Tenuifolia – Japanese catnip
By Acupuncture.com staff writer
After months of cold weather, springtime is usually welcomed with open arms. We have warmer weather and a little extra sunlight in the evenings. But it is also a time that many suffer with allergies. The sweet smell of blooming blossoms in the early morning is also indication that pollen is plentiful in the air. For centuries, Chinese medical practitioners have used a
handful of helpful herbs to help balance the body and, thus, relieve the symptoms
of springtime allergies. One such herb is Jing Jie.
Jing Jie, also known as Japanese catnip, is widely used for allergies, normally in conjunction with other herbs. Jing Jie is a flowering plant that is cultivated in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and in Jiangxi,
China. The parts of the plant that grow above ground (the stems, leaves, and flowers) are harvested in the
autumn and winter and dried.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Jing Jie is warm, pungent, and aromatic. It is related to the Lung and Liver meridians. Its functions are to release the exterior and expel wind (both wind cold or wind heat). It reduces chills, fever, carbuncles or boils in the initial stages of
eruption, vents rashes, and alleviates itching of measles and pruritic skin disease (such as eczema and
psoriasis). It can also stop bleeding.
According to TCM theory, allergies are due to an invasion of External Wind Cold or Heat with an underlying Lung Qi deficiency. In some cases, it is further complicated by the deficiency of the Spleen or Kidney. Jing Jie is able to effectively clear wind. It’s
normally used in formulas with other herbs such as Fang Feng, Xin Yi Hua, and Cang Er Zi. One common
formula used frequently today is Bi Yan Pian.
Related to allergies are allergic dermatitis and eczema. A recent study showed that Schizonepeta tenuifolia (Jing Jie) inhibited the inflammatory response of skin thickening and markedly suppressed the secretion of immunoglobulin E, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 6 levels in the serum of DNCB-induced mice. Furthermore, the study showed that Schizonepeta tenuifolia significantly restored the upregulation of proinflammatory factors, such as nuclear factor (NF)-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase expression.
Jing Jie also has a strong anti-itching property and can help relieve the itchiness of eczema and other
conditions such as measles.
The typical dose of Jing Jie is between 4.5 grams and 9 grams. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must not ingest decoctions made with this herb. Also,
people with anemia and other blood related illnesses must consult their doctor
regarding taking this herb.
Phytother Res. 2012 Sep 4. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4833.