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Chinese Sumac Galls

Chinese Nut Galls | Wu Bei Zi
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Chinese Sumac Galls (Wu Bei Zi)

BOTANICAL NAME

Rhus Chinensis

COMMON NAME:

Chinese Nut Galls; Chinese Gall; Chinese Sumac; Nutgall Tree; Gallnuts

USES

Traditional Chinese medicinal remedies use gallnut extracts orally to treat night sweats and spontaneous sweating (today called hyperhidrosis), and topically to treat bleeding wounds, skin ulcers, and swelling due to infection. However, there is little to no recent research to corroborate these uses.

That said, some of the other most common (and somewhat proven) historical medicinal uses of Chinese Sumac supplements include the alleviation of gastrointestinal distress and urinary discomfort. Additionally, there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence, and some limited empirical evidence, to support the potential effective use of oral Chinese gall supplements (especially hot-water decoctions and aqueous extracts) in reducing the frequency and severity of diarrhea, curing constipation, moderating blood sugar levels, and treating specific microbial and viral infections. Additional anecdotal evidence suggests that aqueous Chinese gall supplements may make practical oral rinses and mouthwashes, and may (in these uses) reduce the frequency and severity of dental infections.

Additionally, the gallnuts harvested from Chinese Sumac trees may be used either as intentional supplements or food supplements (usually additive powders) to help prevent the development and slow the progression of osteoporosis among postmenopausal women.

Chinese Sumac galls are classified as an astringent herb by TCM. That is why they might perform as an oral rinse or to affect diarrhea and urination.  They are categorized as salty, sour and cold and affect the Lung, Large Intestine and Kidney channels.

PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION

The most commonly used part of the Chinese Sumac plant (for either dietary or medicinal supplementation) is the “Sumac galls” or “gallnuts” themselves. These are not actually the seeds or fruits of the Chinese Sumac tree, but rather a unique natural excretion produced in response to insect larva irritation within the plant’s bark. The most common bioactive compounds rendered from galls are gallotannins and gallic acid, which require hot-water decoction and extraction.

PRECAUTIONS

Among healthy adults, Chinese Sumac supplementation is likely safe for daily use in low doses. Though there are no known or reported potential side effects or contraindications for use, people with pre-existing and ongoing health conditions should speak with a doctor before adding any herbal supplement (even a likely safe one) to their dietary regimen.

You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking Chinese Sumac.

REFERENCES

Chen, John, Chen, T &  Cramton, L. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology Art of Medicine Press, Inc. City of Industry, CA USA. 2003. 1327 pp ISBN: 0-9740635-0-9  http://aompress.com/herbology

Dorr, Christopher. “TANNINS USED AS MEDICINAL AGENTS: STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS AND ORIGIN.” Gallnuts and the Uses of Tannins in Chinese Medicine, www.itmonline.org/arts/gallnuts.htm.

Heirangkhongjam, Memthoi Devi, and Iboyaima Singh Ngaseppam. “Traditional Medicinal Uses and Pharmacological Properties of Rhus Chinensis Mill.: A Systematic Review.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 21, 2018, pp. 43–49., doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2018.06.011.

Hwang, Youn-Hwan, et al. “Anti-Osteoporotic and Anti-Adipogenic Effects of Rhus Chinensis Nutgalls in Ovariectomized Mice Fed with a High-Fat Diet.” Planta Medica, vol. 85, no. 14/15, 2019, pp. 1128–1135., doi:10.1055/a-0989-2585.

Kim, Ji Eun, et al. “Gallotannin-Enriched Extract Isolated from Galla Rhois May Be a Functional Candidate with Laxative Effects for Treatment of Loperamide-Induced Constipation of SD Rats.” Plos One, vol. 11, no. 9, Dec. 2016, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161144.

Odilon, Djakpo & Yao, Weirong. (2010). Rhus Chinensis and Galla Chinensis – Folklore to Modern Evidence: Review. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 24. 1739-47. 10.1002/ptr.3215.

Wu, Zihuan, et al. “Acute and Subchronic Toxicities of the Ethanol and Hot-Water Extracts from Chinese Sumac (Rhus Chinensis Mill.) Fruits by Oral Administration in Rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 119, 2018, pp. 14–23., doi:10.1016/j.fct.2018.06.009.

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