Acupuncture & TCM

Gui Zhi

Latin: Ramulus Cinnamomi cassiae

English: Cinnamon twig or Cassia twig

Category:Herbs that Release the Exterior
Sub-class:Warm-acrid herbs
Properties (temp; flavour):warm: acrid/sweet
Channels:Heart, Lung, Bladder, (Liver), (Kidney)
Dosage:external conditions: 3-10 g
painful obstruction: 9-15 g
tincture: 1-3 mL
Major Ingredients:cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamyl actetate
Pharmacological Research:antibiotic (staph. aureus, salmonella typhi; asian flu A); antipyretic (mild via vasodilation); diuretic
Dispel cold & release exteriorFor exterior wind-cold invasion
[inhibits bacteria & flu virus]
Remove cold & stop painFor Bi pain due to wind-cold-damp (eg/ arthritis)
Invigorate blood circulation; promote menstruationFor abdominal pain due to cold in the middle jiao; for amenorrhea due to cold stasis
Warm Yang Qi; promote water metabolismFor water retention (edema); induces sweating.

Common Combinations

+ Ma Huangfor patterns of exterior cold
+ Bai Shaofor external wind-cold seen as ying/wei disharmony with exterior deficiency and spontaneous sweating
+ Zhi Gan Caofor palpitations and shortness of breath from injured yang of chest
+ Dan Shenfor palpitations and chest pain due to Heart Yang deficiency and subsequent blood stasis blocking the channels
+ Mu Li and Long Gufor irritability and insomnia due to floating yang in upper jiao and injured yin in lower jiao (from Heart yang deficiency)


Not for use for warm-febrile diseases, yin deficiency with heat signs and heat in the blood with vomiting. Use cautiously during pregnancy or in cases of excessive menstruation.

Other Notes

Dr. Xiao mentioned using Gui Zhi for angina – the herb goes to the Heart and warms Yang Qi which can increase heart reat and increase blood pressure (similar actions to nitroglycerin). See above with Dan Shen.

Cinnamon bark is also used in TCM: Rou Gui. It is and herb that warms the interior and expels cold. Both are warming but Rou Gui is more for warming the interior and tonifying the Kidney Yang while Gui Zhi releases the exterior and warms and opens the channels.

Cinnamon contains coumarin which is toxic to the liver and kidneys. “In 2008, the European Food Safety Authority considered the toxicity of coumarin, a component of cinnamon, and confirmed a maximum recommended tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg of coumarin per kg of body weight.” (from Wikipedia). Cinnamomi cassia can contain 0.1-12 mg/ gram of cinnamon while C. verum only has 0.005-0.09 mg/ gram cinnamon.

Cinnamomi sp.

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