Gastrodiae Elatae, Rhizoma，Gastrodia, Tian Ma
Gastrodia is one of the most precious of the medicinal herbs used in Chinese herbalism. It affects the liver function. It is primarily used to counter the symptoms caused by "endogenous wind," which manifests in conditions such as childhood convulsions, convulsions resulting from high fever, headaches and epilepsy induced by fright. Gastrodia is commonly used to treat spasms in the legs, abdomen, feet and back.
It is the main herb in formulas used to treat childhood convulsions. But there are different causes of childhood convulsions and a medical practitioner should be the one to select the herbs that are combined with the Gastrodia. It is rarely used alone. It is combined in sophisticated formulas designed to treat each specific problem.
Gastrodia is the main herb used in Chinese herbalism to treat headaches. The Chinese describe at least four primary headache syndromes, with many subtle variations, for which Gastrodia is effective. These are:
(1) headaches caused by hyperactivity of Liver Yang,
(2) headaches caused by upward movement of wind-phlegm,
(3) headaches caused by deficiency of Blood and Yin, and
(4) chronic headaches and migraines. Formulas for the various headaches will be described in a later section.
Gastrodia is also used to treat chronic dizziness and vertigo. These too are "endogenous wind" conditions. Also, Gastrodia is used in formulas to treat windstroke, hemiplegia and numbness of the limbs. In China, it has been used to treat tetanus, but if you step on a rusty nail, hurry to a doctor and get a tetanus shot.
In addition, Gastrodia is beneficial for preventing premature graying and loss of the hair. It improves circulation in the scalp, and when combined with He Shou Wu, it stimulates circulation in the follicles and promotes the health of the hair. It is therefor used both internally and externally as a hair tonic.