In traditional Chinese medicine the herb is described as spicy or pungent, bitter, warm, and aromatic, acting on the spleen and stomach meridians.
A number of effects of the herb are described as ways of “drying dampness”:
As a stomachic: for “Damp obstruction or accumulation in the Middle Jiao”, with symptoms such as low appetite, abdominal distension, epigastric distress and fullness, indigestion, dyspepsia, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, weariness, a heavy sensation in the body, and a thick greasy tongue coating.
To eliminate exopathogens: to “dispel wind-damp-cold (bisyndrome)”, explained as “headaches and body aches, fever, chills, blocked nasal passages, and an absence of sweating”.
To treat “damp heat conditions” in the lower Jiao, including “Damp Leg Qi, aching and swollen joints, and vaginal discharge” (leukorrhea). This includes relieving arthralgia, swollen knees, and foot pain.
To induce sweating.
It is also used to treat night blindness or optic atrophy, either alone or as a component of Shi Ju Ming, and to relieve stagnant liver qi, reducing stress and relieving depression, in mixtures such as Jue Ju Wan.