Rhizoma Imperatae, Mao Gen or Cogon Grass
Traditional Chinese Name:
茅根 (mao gen)
The imperatae is a rhizoma (or underground stem) that has roots and shoots underground and looks almost like a type of grass. They are long, thin stems that are beige in colour and can be found fresh or dried. In traditional Chinese medicine, the imperatae is cooling in nature and sweet. It tends to be used for teas (rather than soups) and is great for dispelling heat in the body (especially heat collected from eating too much barbeque or hot pot!). It is great for addressing the stomach, lungs, and bladder. You’ll commonly find this ingredient paired with sugar cane in the Cantonese soup repertoire.
How do I prepare it?
- This is a relatively simple ingredient to clean and use.
- I’ve only bought the dried version of this plant and only rinse with cold water to be sure it’s clean for boiling.
- You can also soak in cool water first before usage.
- I honestly haven’t tried eating it as it is usually discarded as part of the soup remains after boiling. This is true if you’re making a big batch and saving it as a drink or tea for later.
Where can I buy it and cost?
- You can purchase from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
- You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops)
- This is also available in Chinese medicine stores or those dried Asian herbal shops
What is the cost?
These aren’t very expensive at all
- Ideal for clearing heat, especially in the stomach, bladder, and lung
- It’s also known to increase urination
- It targets the stomach, bladder, and lungs
- From a TCM perspective, it’s known to stop bleeding due to heat in the blood
- It is cooling in nature
- Sweet ingredients will also detoxify the body
As it’s cooling, you should avoid this if you have yin deficiency
- This should also be avoided if you’re going through postpartum confinement (since you want more Yang in your body anyways)
- Be sure to consult with your doctor before consuming any medicine
Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?
There are so many ingredients in the Chinese soup repertoire, so here’s an intro video to get you started! While imperatae isn’t on this list because it’s primarily used for specific teas (or soups), you can still have it handy as needed! Especially in the summer!