Zhi zi, also called gardenia fruit, is really the seed pod of Gardenia jasminoides. It’s a really uniquely shaped and orange-red colored fruit that doesn’t really have an aroma. Its flavor is bitter and it is cold in temperature. Because it’s really hard to dry the fruits in the sun without loosing their brilliant color, they are briefly scalded in boiling water or steamed, then dried. They are usually processed in the fall, when the fruits mature, and dried in shady areas with good airflow.
Zhi zi is used in Chinese herbalism to clear heat, move damp heat and break up accumulations. It’s especially useful externally when there is heat, swelling and other signs of Qi and Blood stagnation and is commonly used externally in conjunction with herbs like Da huang (Chinese rhubarb root) and Pu gong ying (dandelion!!). When combined, the actions of clearing heat are augmented and blood can be more easily moved through an area that’s experienced trauma – thus reducing tissue damage from stagnation and aiding in decreasing healing time.
These 3 herbs can be found in our Herbal Ice, where they are also combined with 3 other herbs that powerfully clear heat to reduce swelling, alleviate pain and reduce the impact of trauma on our bodies.
Herbal Ice is our version of icing injuries!! It’s our go to when we sprain our ankles, tear things that shouldn’t be torn, and get minor musculoskeletal injuries that result in swollen hot areas. It’s super easy to use, light enough to carry in most hiking bags or gym bags, and a great way to quickly deal with injuries when they happen. You can refer to an earlier blog post about how to use Herbal Ice if you’re interested!
Needless to say, Zhi zi is one of my favorite herbs (haha, I think I say that about every herb!!!) with regards to it’s effectiveness and ability to help with a broad range of conditions. It can also be found in our Trauma Liniment and Burn Cream (two other great botanicals for clearing heat and helping with first stage trauma!).