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Oryza (gu ya)

What is oryza? What is it used for?

Sometimes known as germinated millet, oryza is a type of rice seed found worldwide. The botanical name for oryza is oryza sativa, a plant of the grass family, which provides the bulk of the human diet in many parts of the world, particularly Asia.

Oryza contains many important components, including proteins, enzymes, starches and a fatty oil. The seeds are dried in the sun before being used in herbal remedies.

Oryza is associated with the Spleen and Stomach meridians in traditional Chinese medicine, and is believed to have sweet and neutral properties. It is one of the oldest forms of Chinese medicine, and was first mentioned in the Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica). Traditionally, it is used to reduce food stagnation and qi stagnation caused by starchy foods, to strengthen the stomach, and to improve appetite. It is often used in combination with other herbs, such as leaven and hawthorn fruit to retain food, or atractylodes and tangerine peel to stimulate the appetite.

How much oryza should I take?

The typical recommended dose of oryza is between 10-15 grams, usually decocted with water.

What forms of oryza are available?

Oryza is most commonly available as a powder. The powder is often encapsulated or used with water in a decoction.

What can happen if I take too much oryza? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Some evidences suggests that oryza may reduce the production of breast milk. As a result, it should not be taken by women who are breastfeeding. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with oryza. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking oryza or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


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  • Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C (eds.) PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, 2000, p. 643.
  • Swaminathan S. Rice. This member of the grass family is one of three on which the human species largely subsists. Scientific American 1984;260(1):80.
  • Vignols F, Wigger M, Garcia-Garrido JM, et al. Rice lipid transfer protein (LTP) genes belong to a complex multigene family and are differentially regulated. Gene Aug. 22, 1997;195:177-86.
  • Yu J, Hu S, Wang J, et al. A draft sequence of the rice genome (oryza sativa L. ssp. Indica). Science 2002;296:79-92.
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