Bai Ji Li, or Puncture vine fruit, is one of traditional Chinese herbs that have been around for centuries. However, it is just a recent extension to be used as natural herbs for energy. Probably because of that reason, this once insignificant herb receives more and more attention from the public and becomes one of popular energy supplements now. Even though ignoring the fact as one natural energy booster, it is still an impressive Chinese herb for a variety of reasons.
What is Bai Ji Li or Puncture vine fruit?
Also known as Puncture Vine and Caltrop Fruit, it refers to the ripe fruit of Tribulus Terrestris L., which is annual or perennial weed and grows in Africa, northern Australia, southern Europe, and parts of Asia. So hardy it is that it survives the harsh environment like deserts. In China, it can be found in most areas, especially the north of the Yangtze River.
Normally this plant is not more than 1 meter in height, with small and dull flowers. 5 small fruits cluster into a radial pentagon, 0.6 to 1cm in diameter. Some fruits are separated into 1-seeded mericarps, green white or grey in color, upheaval cobwebbing and spines on back, and one symmetrical pair of long and short spines respectively. And it is the very reason that also known as Ci Ji Li (Spines Puncture Vine) in China. The texture is hard and hand-stabbing, white or yellowish-white kernel seen in the transverse section. Quality one is evengranular, solid, plump, and grey in color.
Natural herb for energy only?
It contains essential oil, tribulus, fatty oil, nitrate, resin, flavonoids compounds, and tiny alkaloid, etc. Thanks for the active ingredients of steroidal saponins, which makes it one of amazing curative herbs clinically. Modern research has found that its functions cover lowering blood pressure, diuresis, cardiotonic, enhancing immune function, growing strong, delaying aging, decreasing blood sugar, fighting allergy, and inhibiting bacteria growth, etc.
From Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, it is bitter, acrid, and slightly warm in nature and covers meridians of liver and lung. Main functions are to dispel wind and sooth the liver, promote Qi and eliminate stasis, and expel wind and improve eyesight. Main uses and indications are sore, itch, and ulcer caused by wind-heat, vitiligo, porrigo in children, slight corneal opacity, red watery eyes, headache and dizziness due to rising liver yang, clog and pain in chest and flanks due to liver qi stagnation, and shortage of milk after childbirth due to Qi depression and blood stasis. Regular dosage is 5 to 10 grams, in decoction. But please note that it varies from person to person depending on the individual conditions.
Now you know the answer is quite certain that it is more than just one of natural herbs for energy, right?
Related Chinese herbal formulas and tips
For treating headache and dizziness due to rising liver yang, Bai Ji Li prefers to work with Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum Flower), Man Jing Zi (Vitex Fruit Seed), Gou Teng (Gambir Vine Stems and Thorns), Lu Dou Yi (self-sowing bean garment), and Ku ding cha (Bitter Spike Tea), etc.;
For treatment of red watery eyes, suitable companions are Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum Flower), Lian Qiao (Forsythia Fruit), Jue Ming Zi (Cao Jue Ming, Foetid Cassia Seeds), Qing Xiang Zi (Celosia Seeds), etc.;
In terms of herbal remedies for measles and itchy skin, it is better to use with Xiang Fu (Nut Grass Rhizome), Mu Xiang (Costus Root), Yu Jin (Tumeric Tuber), Qing Pi (Green Tangerine Peel), and Ju Pi (Tangerine Peel), etc.;
For shortage of milk and painful and enlarged breasts, the powder of this herb itself is quite good enough.
Herbs to increase energy
There are many species that boost energy in herbal remedies, such as Ren Shen (Ginseng), Huang Qi (Astragalus), Bai Zhu (Atractylodes), and Gan Cao (Licorice). This is also one of the most used one. However, it wasn’t used as tonic herb until 1970s. According to modern research, puncture vine extract is relatively safe, which helps increase testosterone lever, give energy, and improve athletic performance in a natural way. Now tribulus creates a lot of buzz in the sports world as it could obviously improve the male athletes’ blood testosterone without the help of steroid. Experiments also show that no less than 40% of blood testosterone will be increased after taking tribulus for a straight week. Now we know that tribulus contains none of the three main hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In addition, it is said that tribulus can also treat erectile dysfunction (ED), spermatorrhea and low sexual desire. But there is no further scientific evidence to support verdict like this yet. So, it makes sense to take such saying with a pinch of salt.
Possible side effects and contraindications
Just as suggested previously, tribulus can be used as diuretic, which might lead to concentration change in the body if some other drugs are using. For example, taking lithium and tribulus simultaneously might result in danger because diuretic is bound to leave too much lithium inside the body. In addition, given the fact that both tribulus and a few diabetes medications are likely to lower blood sugar, extreme care should be taken if they need to be uses together just in case the decrease of blood sugar is too much. So, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor for professional opinions before doing so.
As a diuretic TCM herb, Bai Ji Li should be avoided for those of Qi-blood deficiency and pregnant woman though it does increase energy naturally.