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Tong Cao (Rice Paper Pith, Tetrapanax)

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Slightly Cold Tong Cao (Medulla Tetrapanacis Papyriferi)
Sweet, Bland, Slightly Cold
Medulla Tetrapanacis Papyriferi
Tone Marks:
tōng căo
Unblocking Herb


  • Promotes Urination and Drains Damp Heat
    For painful, dribbling urination with possible burning due to damp and heat.
  • Promotes Lactation
    For insufficient lactation.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Do not use during pregnancy.
  • Use caution in cases with Middle Jiao Cold.

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • Due to the diuretic effect of this herb, care should be used when taking prescription diuretics.

Toxicity and Overdose

  • Possible side effects to overdose include epigastric pain, vomiting, nausea, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolinemia, and increased liver triglyceride synthesis.


  • 2-5 grams in decoction or 15-18 grams to promote lactation 12
  • 2-4.5 grams in decoction 13


  • Tong Cao and Mu Tong both unblock and promote urination. Tong Cao is not as bitter as Mu Tong so its effects are less powerful and is used for mild cases of damp-heat or combined with stronger herbs for more severe cases.

Clinical Studies and Research

  • Structure-activity studies of some oleanane triterpenoid glycosides and their related compounds from the leaves of Tetrapanax papyriferum on anti-inflammatory activities.
    Sugishita E, Amagaya S, Ogihara Y. - J Pharmacobiodyn. 1982 Jun; 5(6):379-87.
  • Studies on the mechanism of anti-inflammatory activities of papyriogenin A and papyriogenin C.
    Amagaya S, Ogihara Y. - J Pharmacobiodyn. 1983 May;6(5):287-94.
  • Antihepatotoxic actions of papyriogenins and papyriosides, triterpenoids of Tetrapanax papyriferum leaves.
    Hikino H, Kiso Y, Amagaya S, Ogihara Y. - J Ethnopharmacol. 1984 Nov;12(2):231-5.
  • Antithrombin activity of medicinal plants from central Florida.
    Chistokhodova N, Nguyen C, Calvino T, Kachirskaia I, Cunningham G, Howard Miles D. - J Ethnophar macol. 2002 Jul;81(2):277-80.

This Herb Appears in the Following Formulas:

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