Have you ever heard the sound by cicadas while walking in a garden? The Chinese medicine Chan Tui (also called Chan Yi or Chan Ke), is the slough of cicada in its life cycle from a nymph to an adult. It is considered as a lightweight, salty and slightly cold herb in TCM concepts. Its light and ascending properties gives it a gentle dispersing action, thus it can expel the exterior wind-heat that causes flu with loss of voice and swollen, sore throat. It can enter blood and liver and clear the heat within, making it a good choice for patients with itchy skin due to the heat in blood.
In the past, people thought that it was a cast in one’s eye which caused the blurry vision. Realizing the thin cicada slough resembles the cast, they used Chan Tui to treat the problem. From TCM’s point of view, the liver opens and reflects on the eyes. When your liver is heaty, your vision will be affected. Therefore, the liver heat-clearing effect of Chan Tui can brighten up the blurred eyes due to liver heatiness.
On the other hand, Chan Tui is useful in treating nighttime crying of babies, which is caused by the heat in liver meridian as well. As we have known, cicadas make a lot of noise in daytime, but are always quiet at night. When the herb is prescribed to a nighttime crying baby, she will become as quiet as a cicada throughout the night, allowing her parents to have pleasant and undisturbed sleep. Again, this is the result of liver clearing and cooling function of Chen Tui.
Adapted from: Ma Kuang Healthcare Group Pte Ltd: Lifecare Issue Vol 09 Mar 2014