Bo Jen Mi Tea

bo jen mi Bo Jen Mi Tea is a popular product that has been used mainly for weight loss for the past twenty years. The herbs in this tea are traditionally used to enhance digestion, remove food stagnation, resolve accumulations of phlegm and moisture, and provide a slight laxative action. These four primary therapeutic actions is the combination relied by Chinese doctors to promote weight loss and reduce blood lipids.



Shan Zha: Crataigus Pinnatifida (Hawthorn) 9%,

Gu Ya: Fructus Hordel Germinatus (Barley Sprout) 3.5%,

Fu Ling: Poria Cocos Woff (Yu Ling) 4%,

Chen Pi: Citrus Chachinesis Hortorum (Citrus Peel) 3.5%,

Ze Xie : Rhizoma Alismatis (Water Plantain) 2.5%,

Shen Qu: Massa Medicata Fermentata (Fermented Wheat with Artemisia Herb) 3.5%,

Qian Hu: Pharbitis Nil (Morning Glory Seed) 3%.

Chi Xiao Dou:  Phaseolus Angularis (Red Bean) 4%,

Lai Fu Zi: Raphanus Sativus (Radish Seed) 2%,

Xiao Ku Xiao: Prunella Vulgaris 8%,

Jue Ming Zi: Cassia Tora (Senna) 3%,

Huo Xiang: Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli Herb) 4%,

white tea 50%.


Bojenmi Tea is a popular product that has been used mainly for weight loss for the past twenty years. The herbs in this tea are traditionally used to enhance digestion, remove food stagnation, resolve accumulations of phlegm and moisture, and provide a slight laxative action. These four primary therapeutic actions are the combination relied by Chinese doctors to promote weight loss and reduce blood lipids.


Which concerns is it good for?

  • Weight loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Low energy

Key benefits:

  • Aids digestion
  • Removes food stagnation
  • Removes phlegm
  • Promotes bowel movements


Traditional Chinese medicine benefits:

  • Benefits the stomach Qi
  • Dispels dampness


What else you need to know:

Bojenmi Tea uniquely combines twelve kinds of medicinal herbs, a concoction of a well-tested herbalist’s prescription, to help reduce body fat. It supports lowering the cholesterol of the aged, thus preventing atherosclerosis and high blood pressure and heart disorders.


“This tea is said to make women feel young and slim and full of youthful beauty. It also rids you of bad breath and erosion of the tongue.”


Benefits of Tai Chi / Qi Gong

Benefits of Tai Chitai chi

The benefits of Tai Chi are many and varied as it is a complete exercise with a focus on breathing and slow movement. Of course, each individual is different so the benefits achieved will depend on the health and physical condition of the individual as well as the amount of time given. Generally speaking, people who practice Tai-Chi may experience improvements in various conditions including high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive conditions, stress relief, arthritis, diabetes, heart health and insomnia.  In addition, you may also find your general health, coordination, balance, strength, flexibility and concentration improving as well.

Tai Chi exercise to keep her joints flexible

Tai Chi exercise to keep her joints flexible

Physical benefits of Tai Chi in the western context

Having a correct body posture helps to align the spine and relieve tension and pressure caused by poor posture. The correct alignment will also reduce the stress placed on the back and improve digestion.

Tai Chi uses the whole body in gentle, weight bearing movements. Incorporating Tai-Chi into your routine will help increase joint mobility and improve muscle and ligament strength. It can also increase the flow of body fluids and circulation which may aid in the recovery from accidents and surgery.

The movements in Tai Chi are deliberately slow and controlled. They may appear easy but are highly effective in building and maintaining muscle and tendon strength with regular practice. Tai-Chi can also help to build and maintain balance as well as assist in the improvement of cardiovascular health.

Tai Chi Chuan in the park

Tai Chi Chuan in the park


Tai-Chi in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM treats the individual as a whole and incorporates all aspects of the mind, body and soul.  The ability of Tai Chi to improve your physical health is due to the specially designed whole-body movements and breathing methods. Tai Chi cultivates and stimulates energy flow and assists mental health through its gentle meditative exercises which help to relax, clear and clarify the mind. It is important to note that Tai Chi needs to be practiced correctly and regularly in order to maximise the benefits.


Getting started

Beginning Tai-Chi is easy as you only need a safe, comfortable environment and loose fitting clothing. The ideal environment may be your home, backyard or park. A place where you can be calm, relaxed and focus on yourself.

Qi gong tai chi exercise

Qi gong tai chi exercise

In the coming weeks, I will be presenting some simple exercises which can be done at home or at work. Keep an eye out for the YouTube videos and newsletters.

It is important to check with your medical practitioner or healthcare professional before beginning a new exercise regime.





The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Diabetes with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Diabetes with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not really have a concept that corresponds to the modern diagnosis of diabetes. Instead, TCM offers a number of formulas that address combinations of symptoms we would call complications of diabetes. The amazing thing about these four basic herbal formulas, however, is that they all actually treat diabetes. They all help to lower blood sugar levels without changing insulin levels through their action on an enzyme called aldose reductase. And this action also lowers blood pressure.[1]

The four basic formulas that TCM uses to address symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Diao Teng San, which is also known by its Japanese name choto-san, is used for a pattern of “deficiency” symptoms that might include headaches, stiff shoulders, slurred speech, short temper because of an inability to contain emotions, and visual disturbances. Clinical trials have found that this herbal formula is useful in treating vascular dementia. Patients who were given the formula had fewer delusions and hallucinations, slept better, were more able to speak spontaneously, and had fewer issues with putting on and taking off clothes.[2] Another clinical trial found that this combination of herbs is helpful in restoring microcirculation in the brain after stroke.[3] Of course, you don’t have to have had a stroke or have vascular dementia to get lower blood sugars by taking the formula.
  • Bai Wei Di Huang Wan, which is known in Japanese herbal medicine as hachimijio-gan and in patent medicines as Rehmannia 8, is a very basic herbal remedy for diabetes. It’s very extensively studied in laboratory animals but not in clinical trials with people. Although it lowers blood sugar levels by acting on aldose reductase, a closely related formula is much better. Japanese herbalists sometimes modify this formula by adding an herb called achyranthis and psyllium seed (the herb used to make Metamucil) to create a formula they call gosha-jinkigan, or Rehmannia 10. This modification of the formula has been clinically tested and found to lower fasting blood sugars levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), and also to stop the progression of diabetic neuropathy. [4] The 10-herb formula is also helpful in treating dry eyes caused by diabetes.[5]
  • Gui Zhi Jia Shu Fu Tang, a cinnamon-based formula, which is also known by its Japanese name keishikika-jutsubuto, stimulates insulin secretion, at least in laboratory animals.[6]
  • Yi Gan San, which is also known by its Japanese name yokukansan, has been extensively investigated as a treatment for autism, tardive dyskinesia, Lewy body disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and social withdrawal disorders.

As a practical matter, if you want to use Chinese herbal medicine on your own to assist with diabetes treatment, you should be using Rehmannia 8 or Rehmannia 10. Both of these formulas are relatively easy to find. They are available in capsules and as teas.

Neither formula substitutes for insulin, and both formulas are more helpful for diabetics who tend to eat too much fat rather than too much sugar. They are not strong enough to be your sole form of treatment. However, you should have fewer high and low blood sugars if you use these formulas, and you may notice that you are calmer, have more control over your appetite, and get better results from your holistic diabetes management plan.

[1] Onoda T, Ishikawa C, Fukazawa T, Li W, Obayashi M, Koike K. Inhibitory activities of selected Kampo formulations on human aldose reductase. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Nov 6;14:435. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-435.

PMID: 25374323.

[2] Terasawa K, Shimada Y, Kita T, Yamamoto T, Tosa H, Tanaka N, Saito Y, Kanaki E, Goto S, Mizushima N, Fujioka M, Takase S, Seki H, Kimura I, Ogawa T, Nakamura S, Araki G, Maruyama I, Maruyama Y, Takaori S. Choto-san in the treatment of vascular dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine. 1997 Mar;4(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(97)80022-0. PMID: 23195240.

[3] Goto H, Yang Q, Kita T, Hikiami H, Shimada Y, Terasawa K. Effects of Choto-san on microcirculation, serum nitric oxide and lipid peroxides in patients with asymptomatic cerebral infarction. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(1):83-9.

PMID: 11321483.

[4] Watanabe K, Shimada A, Miyaki K, Hirakata A, Matsuoka K, Omae K, Takei I. Long-term effects of goshajinkigan in prevention of diabetic complications: a randomized open-labeled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:128726. doi: 10.1155/2014/128726. Epub 2014 Apr 9. Erratum in: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:9567408. PMID: 24812564.

[5] Nagaki Y, Hayasaka S, Hayasaka Y, et al. Effects of Goshajinkigan on corneal sensitivity, superficial punctate keratopathy and tear secretion in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2003;31(1):103–109.

[6] Qin B, Nagasaki M, Ren M, Bajotto G, Oshida Y, Sato Y. Effects of keishi-ka-jutsubu-to (traditional herbal medicine: Gui-zhi-jia-shu-fu-tang) on in vivo insulin action in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Life Sci. 2003 Oct 10;73(21):2687-701. PMID: 13679237.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with TCM

Like so many other medically defined conditions, polycystic ovarian disease, or PCOS, simply is not a concept that existed in ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The ancient sages of TCM recognised symptom patterns that we now call PCOS, but herbal treatment for the condition is both more and less than medical intervention.

What Does a TCM Practitioner See When a Woman Comes In With PCOS?

Most practitioners of TCM are also trained in conventional medicine, so you can discuss your concerns with confidence. The choice of herbal treatments, however, depends on symptoms as they are traditionally defined.

Sometimes the TCM practitioner will see that symptoms require “warming up” the body. For this, the patent medicine might be Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, which is also known as the Cinnamon and Poria Pill. Sometimes the TCM practitioner might see that primary problem is “redirecting” the body’s energies away from the center of the body, where they are “congealing” in the ovaries. For this symptom pattern, the remedy might be Dan Gui Shao Yao San, which is also known as Dong Quai and Peony Powder. This is the same remedy that is used in older women to treat hot flushes.

But sometimes the problem is that the menstrual cycle simply needs to be reset. In Western terms, there is an excess of luteinizing hormone. In almost all cases of PCOS, there is a problem with too much testosterone.[1] The ovaries make both estrogen and testosterone. PCOS causes the ovaries to burn lots of sugar, which they use to make both hormones to excess. It is necessary at least to reduce the production of testosterone. Low-calorie diets (exercise without diet won’t work) reduce the supply of sugar to the ovaries and reduce the production of estrogen. But clinical trials show that the herbal formula Wen Jing Tang, which is also known by its Japanese name unsei-to,  normalizes both luteinizing hormone and the balance of estrogen and testosterone.[2] In the terminology of TCM, this formula “Warms the Menses” to restart ovulation and fertility.

When Would TCM “Warm the Menses”?

Not every woman should get the Wen Jing Tang formula. There are some very specific indications that the formula will help.

  • Traditionally, this formula was used for women who had abdominal distension. That could be bloating, or it could be belly fat. In TCM, both bloating and belly fat indicate the same kind of disturbance in the flows of Chi through their channels. A “harder” kind of stasis only meant that the energy had been in the wrong channels so long that bloat turned into fat. But the misdirection of energy was the same.
  • Warm the Menses formula usually is given to women who have some uterine bleeding, but not necessarily menstruation. Their periods may come late or not at all. But there is still some bleeding.
  • This formula is not intended for women who have fevers, who have hot flushes, or who have express (however deservedly) outbursts of rage. It adds energy to the body, so it’s best to avoid this formula if there is already too much energy in the body.

Usually, this isn’t the first combination a TCM practitioner would try. But this is the combination that works best with Western medicine.

TCM Augments Medications and Supplements

The herbal formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine do not replace any other medications your doctor prescribes. They don’t take the place of any supplements you may be taking, such as inositol. Your medications and supplements help to determine the pattern of symptoms for which your TCM practitioner chooses appropriate combinations of hepcosrbs.

What kinds of medications and supplements also make a difference? Documented clinical experience gives some insights.

Here are some examples:

  • The most commonly prescribed medication for PCOS is metformin. It  is considered especially useful when symptoms include obesity.[3] However, at least one clinical trial has found that myo-inositol is effective than metformin.[4]
  • Myo-inositol can be combined with the fertility drug clomiphene. Fertility researchers at the Alexandrovska University Hospital in Bulgaria gave 50 women both myo-inositol and clomiphene for three months. In just three months, 29 women started ovulating again and 11 became pregnant. After the other women in the study went off myo-inositol, they continued on clomiphene. In that group, six more women became pregnant.[5]
  • Another team of doctors at the Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre in Lille, France asked 26 women to consent to treatment with myo-inositol in addition to clomiphene. Their pregnancy rates were 35 percent higher than the pregnancy rates for women who received clomiphene alone.[6]


Would these women get even better results if they took some doctor-supervised combination of metformin, myo-inositol, clomiphene, and/or Wen Jing Tang? It all depends on symptoms. Whether or not a woman takes any other medications, Wen Jing Tang works best when the energetic need of the body is to warm and gently stimulate the reproductive organs.


How Should Women Pursue TCM Treatment for PCOS?


PCOS is never simply a matter of eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts at the wrong times, but it is often helped by diet. Dieting puts the brakes on some of the hormonal processes that perpetuate the disease. A clinical study has found that no matter what treatments women choose for infertility associated with PCOS, they get better results if they diet first.[7]


Beyond dieting, it’s important to get good medical care and good alternative medical care. Be up front with your doctor about any herbs you are using. Be open with your TCM practitioner about any medications you are taking. You don’t have to be a purist to get good results from TCM, but you do need a skilled practitioner who thoroughly understands and respects your choices.


Will you overcome PCOS with Wen Jiang Tang? Maybe you will, but chances are your TCM practitioner will try one of two other herbal remedies first. Wen Jiang Tang is something you take when your body is ready for it, perhaps In the second of third month of treatment. You may have to wait a few months for results, but working with your TCM practitioner will still get a better and faster result than you can expect from one mode of treatment alone.


[1] Barber TM, Franks S. Genetic basis of polycystic ovary syndrome. Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2010. 5(4):549-61.pcos

[2] Ushiroyama T, Hosotani T, Mori K, Yamashita Y, Ikeda A, Ueki M. Effects of switching to wen-jing-tang (unkei-to) from preceding herbal preparations selected by eight-principle pattern identification on endocrinological status and ovulatory induction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J Chin Med 2006;34(2):177-87. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X06003746. PMID: 16552830.

[3] Tagliaferri V, Romualdi D, Immediata V, De Cicco S, Di Florio C, Lanzone A, Guido M. Metformin vs myoinositol: which is better in obese polycystic ovary syndrome patients? A randomized controlled crossover study.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2017 May;86(5):725-730. doi: 10.1111/cen.13304. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28092404.

[4] Jamilian M, Farhat P, Foroozanfard F, Afshar Ebrahimi F, Aghadavod E, Bahmani F, Badehnoosh B, Jamilian H, Asemi Z. Comparison of myo-inositol and metformin on clinical, metabolic and genetic parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2017 Aug;87(2):194-200. doi: 10.1111/cen.13366. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

[5] Kamenov Z, Kolarov G, Gateva A, Carlomagno G, Genazzani AD. Ovulation induction with myo-inositol alone and in combination with clomiphene citrate in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients with insulin resistance.

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2015 Feb;31(2):131-5. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2014.964640. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

PMID: 25259724.

[6] Rolland AL, Peigné M, Plouvier P, Dumont A, Catteau-Jonard S, Dewailly D. Could myo-inositol soft gel capsules outperform clomiphene in inducing ovulation? Results of a pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Jun;21(2 Suppl):10-14.PMID: 28724178.

[7] Legro RS, Dodson WC, Kunselman AR, Stetter CM, Kris-Etherton PM, Williams NI, Gnatuk CL, Estes SJ, Allison KC, Sarwer DB, Diamond MP, Schlaff WD, Casson PR, Christman GM, Barnhart KT, Bates GW, Usadi R, Lucidi S, Baker V, Zhang H, Eisenberg E, Coutifaris C, Dokras A. Benefit of Delayed Fertility Therapy With Preconception Weight Loss Over Immediate Therapy in Obese Women With PCOS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jul;101(7):2658-66. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1659. Epub 2016 May 12. PMID: 27172435.

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan, The Five Seed Fertility Fruits Formula

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

The Five Seed Fertility Fruits Formula

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine often referred to as “the fertility fruits” or the “five ancestors tea pills.” This formula combines five seeds and berries that help a man’s body keep his reproductive energies from “leaking.” With his masculine powers properly directed, he is more readily able to father children. The formula also encourages stronger erections, longer lasting intercourse, and increased fertility. Let’s take a look at the five “ancestor” herbs that make up the formula.


Gou Qi Zi (also known as Fructus Lycii Chinensis and goji berry) is added to formulas as a Yin tonic. The energies of the herb assist the “holding” energies of the body.  It helps the lungs hold moisture so they are moistened. This stops dry cough. It brightens the eyes both physically and energetically. It can relieve dry eye, but it can also resolve the effects of emotional energies that make the eyes tired. And it nourishes the energies of the Kidney, to hold fluids and the reproductive force known as Jing, and the Liver, to house emotions until they can be properly processed.  It helps a man focus his raw emotional energy on what’s important.

In scientific terms, however, Gou Qi Zi has a much more specific effect on a man’s sex life. It contains compounds that help preserve dopamine-making neurons in the brain. Dopamine is the brain’s reward chemical. Maintaining the brain’s normal production of dopamine maintains a man’s normal interest in sex.[1] It also helps you feel better about your life in general. A clinical trial that involved drinking 120 ml (half a cup) of goji berry juice every day for 15 days found that it significantly “improves subjective measures of energy levels, athletic performance, sleep quality, mental acuity, calmness, feelings of health and contentment, mood, and gastrointestinal regularity compared to placebo.”[2]


Tu Si Zi (also known as Semen Cucscutae Chinensis and ) s strengthens Yang, nourishes Yin, and astringes Jing. What does that mean? Chinese dodder seed gives the body’s outward, assertive energies a boost. At the same time it helps the body hold onto energies needed for its inner workings. The combination of these effects helps the body conserve Jing, or its reproductive essence.

Tu Si Zi has many other applications. This herb contains as-yet unidentified compounds that relieve knee pain.[3] Energetically, the knees, the Kidney, and a man’s reproductive function are all interrelated. Practically, if your knees are killing you, you aren’t going to have good sex. Along with epimedium (horny goat weed), Tu Si Zi helps improve the male memory.[4] But most importantly for male fertility, laboratory studies confirm that Tu Si Zi improves sperm’s “swimming ability” and strengthens the sperm’s cell membrane against oxidative assault.[5]


Che Qian Zi (also Semen Plantaginis and psyllium seed) is a sweet, cooling herb. Its energies calm those of the Bladder, Kidney, Liver, and Lung.  It promotes

urination. This helps “dry out” diarrhea. It clears Liver Heat, the energetic effect of strong emotions that cannot be contained. This normalizes energies in the breasts and eyes. And it clears phlegm from the Lungs.  In Western medicine, psyllium seed is the most commonly prescribed source of natural fiber, used to treat both constipation and diarrhea, but it also keeps digested sugars from entering the body too quickly.

Western medicine has focused on the use of psyllium seed as a treatment for constipation and high cholesterol, so it has not investigated how the herb can support men’s reproductive health. However, there is laboratory evidence that Che Qian Zi increases the production of bile salts. The liver uses bile salts to remove excess estrogen from the body.[6] It is possible, although it’s not proven, that this ingredient helps a man’s body to eliminate estrogen-like compounds from food and polluted drinking water.


Fu Pen Zi (also known as Fructus Rubi Chingii and Chinese Raspberry Fruit) contributes energies that stabilize and bind. It is also an astringent herb. It keeps vital energies from leaking out of the body. Traditional herbalism uses it to invigorate Yang energies to reduce urinary frequency, enuresis, impotence, spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, or wet dreams.

Modern science confirms that Fu Pen Zi is a vasodilator.[7] It supports the movement of blood into the penis for a stronger erection. It’s also a muscle relaxant.[8] It prevents muscle spasms that could occur at just the wrong time and ruin good sex.


Wu Wei Zi, literally the “fruit of five flavors (also known as Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis and schisandra fruit) is sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent. Its five flavors enable it to lend its energies to all five of the energy organs of the human body, the Heart, Kidneys, Liver, Lungs, and Spleen. This herb also has five functions. It can calm, clear, and tonify the body, as well as expel “evil energies” known as Wind and break up stagnation, the physical effects of energies out of place.

Schisandra also has scientifically documented potencies. It stimulates the production of several detoxifying enzymes in the liver, including the CYP2E1 we talked about above and also CYP1A2 and CYP3A11. This helps the liver detoxify caffeine. It also helps a man’s body clear out estrogens that may have been generated by the breakdown of plastics or that come from other sources of environmental pollution.[9]

The formula Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan acting as a whole has been scientifically demonstrated to treat the effects of alcohol on the liver.[10] It acts on a specific enzyme system called CYP2E1.[11] This is the enzyme your body uses to detoxify a huge number of environmental chemicals. It’s absolutely critical for the body to detoxify benzene and aniline dyes. It is the enzyme that clears out painkillers and anesthesia. It’s also the enzyme your liver uses to detoxify alcohol.

But of more interest to most men is the fact that laboratory studies confirm that Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan makes erections stronger, specifically in males with hypertension.[12] It normalizes the production of a compound called nitric oxide (NO) in the cavernus cavernosum, the blood vessels that power the penis. It allows the penis to relax and fill with blood so it becomes erect. Although Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is not so strong that it comes with the warning “For erections that last more than four hours, see your doctor,” it has the same action as the “little blue pill” that your doctor might prescribe for you.

How do you reconcile the Western science with the known efficacy of the formula in TCM? It’s simple, really. Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is not a formula is not a formula for men who “have something wrong with them.” It is just a formula that removes certain physiological distractions that interfere with fertility and enjoyment of sex.

Men who have problems in the bedroom or disappointments with pregnancy don’t necessarily have problems specifically in their reproductive organs. The problem may really be the toxic effects of chemicals on the job. Or it can be the physiological effects of toxic emotional experiences. Or it can be the after effects of anesthesia from surgery or even the general stress of an infection somewhere else in the body.

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is given to men who function perfectly well as men, but just need some help dealing with toxic environments or toxic lifestyle. Six months of treatment with Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan will help the men who need resume their normal sexual potency as they achieve generally better health.

[1] Lin S, Ye S, Huang J, Tian Y, Xu Y, Wu M, Wang J, Wu S, Cai J. How do Chinese medicines that tonify the kidney inhibit dopaminergic neuron apoptosis? Neural Regen Res. 2013 Oct 25;8(30):2820-6. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.30.004. PMID: 25206603.

[2] Amagase H, Nance DM. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (goji) juice, GoChi. J Altern Complement Med 2008;14:403-12.

[3] Liang Y et al. Effects of traditional Chinese medicine and rehabilitation training on knee joint function after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in arthroscopy. Chinese Journal of Clinical Rehabilitatin. 2006;10(27):6-10.

[4] Liu, Z. Y., Yang, Y. G., and Zheng, B. [Effect of improving memory and inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity by invigorating-qi and warming-yang recipe]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1993;13(11):675-6, 646.

[5] Peng, S. J., Lu, R. K., and Yu, L. H. [Effects of semen Cuscutae, rhizoma Curculiginis, radix Morindae officinalis on human spermatozoan’s motility and membrane function in vitro]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(3):145-147

[6] Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Axelsen M, et al. Viscous and nonviscous fibres, nonabsorbable and low glycaemic index carbohydrates, blood lipids and coronary heart disease. Curr Opin Lipidol 2000;11:49-56.

[7] Mullen W, McGinn J, Lean ME, et al. Ellagitannins, flavonoids, and other phenolics in red raspberries and their contribution to antioxidant capacity and vasorelaxation properties. J Agric Food Chem 2002;50:5191-6.

[8] Bamford DS, Percival RC, Tothill AU. Raspberry leaf tea: a new aspect to an old problem. Br J Pharmacol 1970;40:161P-162P.

[9] Hong M, Zhang Y, Li S, Tan HY, Wang N, Mu S, Hao X, Feng Y. A Network Pharmacology-Based Study on the Hepatoprotective Effect of Fructus Schisandrae. Molecules. 2017 Sep 28;22(10). pii: E1617. doi: 10.3390/molecules22101617. PMID: 28956809.

[10] Chen ML, Tsai SH, Ip SP, Ko KM, Che CT. Long-term treatment with a “Yang-invigorating” Chinese herbal formula, Wu-Zi-Yan-Zong-Wan, reduces mortality and liver oxidative damage in chronic alcohol-intoxicated rats. Rejuvenation Res. 2010 Aug;13(4):459-67. doi: 10.1089/rej.2009.0985. PMID: 20583953.

[11] Chen ML, Ip SP, Tsai SH, Ko KM, Che CT. Biochemical mechanism of Wu-Zi-Yan-Zong-Wan, a traditional Chinese herbal formula, against alcohol-induced oxidative damage in CYP2E1 cDNA-transfected HepG2 (E47) cells.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 2;128(1):116-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.036. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

PMID: 20051262.

[12] Sohn, D. W., Kim, H. Y., Kim, S. D., Lee, E. J., Kim, H. S., Kim, J. K., Hwang, S. Y., Cho, Y. H., and Kim, S. W. Elevation of intracavernous pressure and NO-cGMP activity by a new herbal formula in penile tissues of spontaneous hypertensive male rats. J.Ethnopharmacol. 11-20-2008;120(2):176-180.

What are polyphenols?

What are polyphenols?

Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

You can get polyphenols by eating foods containing them. You can also take supplements, which come in powder and capsule forms.

Polyphenols may have several unwanted side effects, however. These are most common when taking polyphenol supplements instead of getting them naturally through food. The most common side effect with the strongest scientific evidence is the potential for polyphenols to interfere with or limit iron absorption.

Factors that influence activity of polyphenols in the body include metabolism, intestinal absorption, and the bioavailability of the polyphenol. Although some foods may have higher polyphenol levels than others, this does not necessarily mean that they are absorbed and used at higher rates.

Read on to learn the polyphenol content of many foods. Unless otherwise stated, all numbers are given in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g) of food.



In a 2010 study that identified the 100 foods richest in polyphenols, cloves came out on top. Cloves had a total of 15,188 mg polyphenols per 100 g of cloves. There were a number of other seasonings with high rankings, too. These included dried peppermint, which ranked second with 11,960 mg polyphenols, and star anise, which came in third with 5,460 mg.



Cocoa powder was the fourth richest polyphenol food identified, with 3,448 mg polyphenols per 100 g of the powder. It’s not a surprise that dark chocolate fell close behind on the list and was ranked eighth with 1,664 mg. Milk chocolate is also on the list, but due to its lower cocoa content, falls much further down the list at number 32.



A number of different types of berries are rich in polyphenols. These include popular and easily accessible berries like:


highbush blueberries, with 560 mg polyphenols

blackberries, with 260 mg polyphenols

strawberries, with 235 mg polyphenols

red raspberries, with 215 mg polyphenols

The berry with the most polyphenols? Black chokeberry, which has more than 1,700 mg polyphenols per 100 g.



Berries aren’t the only fruits with plenty of polyphenols. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many fruits contain high numbers of polyphenols. These include:


black currants, with 758 mg polyphenols

plums, with 377 mg polyphenols

sweet cherries, with 274 mg polyphenols

apples, with 136 mg polyphenols

Fruit juices like apple juice and pomegranate juice also contain high numbers of this micronutrient.



Beans contain many nutritional benefits, so it’s no surprise that they naturally have hefty doses of polyphenols. Black beans and white beans have the highest number of polyphenols. Black beans have 59 mg per 100 g, and white beans have 51 mg.



Nuts can be high in caloric value, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only are they full of protein; some nuts also have high polyphenol content.


One 2012 study found significant levels of polyphenols in a number of both raw and roasted nuts. Nuts high in polyphenols include:


hazelnuts, with 495 mg polyphenols

walnuts, with 28 mg polyphenols

almonds, with 187 mg polyphenols

pecans, with 493 mg polyphenols



There are many vegetables that contain polyphenols, though they usually have less than fruit. Vegetables with high numbers of polyphenols include:


artichokes, with 260 mg polyphenols

chicory, with 166–235 mg polyphenols

red onions, with 168 mg polyphenols

spinach, with 119 mg polyphenols



Want to shake it up? In addition to high-fiber fruits, nuts, and vegetables, black and green teas both contain ample amounts of polyphenols. Black tea clocks in with 102 mg polyphenols per 100 milliliters (mL), and green tea has 89 mg.



Many people drink a glass of red wine every night for the antioxidants. The high number of polyphenols in red wine contributes to that antioxidant count. Red wine has a total of 101 mg polyphenols per 100 mL. Rosé and white wine, while not as beneficial, still have a decent chunk of polyphenols, with 100 mL of each having about 10 mg polyphenols.



There are some risks and complications associated with polyphenols. These seem to be most heavily associated with taking polyphenol supplements. More research is needed to evaluate the actual risk of these complications, which include:


carcinogenic effects


thyroid issues

estrogenic activity in isoflavones

interactions with other prescription medications


Polyphenols are powerful micronutrients that our body needs. They have numerous health benefits that may offer protection from the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It’s best to consume polyphenols through foods naturally containing them, instead of through artificially made supplements, which may come with more side effects. If you take supplements, make sure they are made from a reputable company with high quality sourcing.