As everyone knows, Triticum aestivum L. refers to common wheat or bread wheat. As its name suggested, it is the most common cereal grain used for grinding flour and then making bread thanks to its high amounts of gluten contained. However, no matter making bread, cakes, pastry, or biscuits, it is all about the plump blond kernels of the spring wheat. What if they are small shriveled grains? Of course, they are good for nothing at all and should be disposed of instead of making food. What a pity it is if you do think so. As a matter of fact, shriveled wheat, also known as Fu Xiao Mai, is a good Chinese herb for a number of ailments, in particular for night sweat. This amazing healing property was found accidentally by Wang Huaiyin, a famous doctor in the Earlier Song Dynasty (960-1127). Next let’s take a look at how the shriveled ordinary wheat works its magic to help patients recover from a lingering illness.
What is Triticum aestivum L. in TCM?
Medicinally Fu Xiao Mai means the immature caryopsis of Triticum aestivum L., a wheat grass in the family Gramineae. It is produced all cross China. After the harvest, pick the shriveled floating ones by putting them in water and then dry them in the sun. The preferred ones are floating and lightweight. On this account, it gets many a different common names, including Un-Ripe Wheat Grain, blighted wheat, Fructus Tritici Levis, Semen Tritici Aestivi Levis, shriveled wheat, light wheat, floating wheat, and so on.
The dry caryopsis is oblong, about 2 to 6mm long, and 1.5 to 2.5mm in diameter. Surface is pale brown or yellow and slightly wrinkled. Belly comes with a deep longitudinal groove in the center. Base of back has 1 inconspicuous embryo and top has yellow pubescence. It is quite hard but some are soft. Cross section is white or yellowish-brown. Few come with glume and cover. It is odorless and tasteless. The high quality grains are even, floating, and shiny.
Vital chemical constituents are starch, enzyme protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, and so on.
Triticum aestivum health benefits
Blighted wheat has very wide medicinal uses and high nutritional value. Many people would sweat during sleeping, which may cause no discomfort. Actually this is the symptom of night sweat, which is mainly caused by deficiency of kidney yin. It may aggravate if left untreated. And that is where the shriveled Triticum aestivum L. comes in. And its modern pharmacology can tip you off why it has these amazing healing benefits mentioned above.
Modern pharmacological actions of shriveled wheat
Modern pharmacological studies have found that this herb is mild in nature and a good medicine among food crops.
1. Bacteriostatic action. It can inhibit the growth of the pathogenic bacteria. Meanwhile, it promotes the reproduction of beneficial bacteria and the synthesis of vitamins;
2. Lipid-lowering effect. It can significantly lower the level of serum cholesterol and triglyceride and improve immunity;
3. Liver protection. Triticum aestivum extract can tremendously decrease the content of lipid and lipid peroxidase in hepatic tissue.
Proven Fu Xiao Mai related herbal remedies
This herb is considered sweet in flavor and cool in properties by herbalists of TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine). It also covers heart meridian. Key functions include stopping deficient sweating, eliminating deficient heat, and tranquilizing mind by nourishing the heart. Basic Triticum aestivum uses and indications are fever due to yin deficiency, night sweat, and spontaneous perspiration. Recommended dosage is from 15 to 30 grams in decoction. And its primary medicinal uses are as follows.
1. Spontaneous perspiration and night sweats. This herb is good at strengthening exterior and reducing sweat. So it is widely used for spontaneous and night sweating by used alone or combining other herbs. In the case of qi-deficiency spontaneous sweating, it usually works together with Huang Qi (Astragalus Root), Mu Li (Oyster Shell), Ma Huang (Ephedra), and more. In this regard, the best sample formula is Mu Li San from Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Formulas of the Peaceful Benevolent Dispensary). In the case of yin-deficiency night sweating, it is typically used along with Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra Fruit), Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon Tuber), Di Gu Pi (Wolfberry Root Cortex), and so on.
2. Hectic fever and consumptive heat. This herb is sweet and cool in nature, which can tonify qi and yin and reduce deficient heat. Generally it couples with Xuan Shen (Ningpo Figwort Root), Ophiopogon Tuber, Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia), Wolfberry Root Cortex, and so on.
Potential Triticum aestivum side effects and contraindications
Since this is a food grade herb, the adverse reaction and drug interactions about Triticum aestivum L. were rarely reported clinically. But according to Sichuan Zhong Yao Zhi (Manual of Chinese Drugs of Sichuan, 1960), this herb shouldn’t be used in cases of absence of sweating accompanied with dysphoria or collapse with sweating.