Herbs for Inducing Diuresis and Excreting Dampness

  




Jinqiancao 

 
Latin: Herba Lysimachiae
 
Origin:
Jinqiancao refers to the whole herb of the perennial plant Lysimachia christinae Hance, of the Primulaceae family. Native to east Asia, it is grown in the grassy thickets along roadsides in China and Japan.

The plant grows to about 0.1 m by 0.5 m. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

In China, the plant is distributed in the provinces south of the Yangtze River. Reaped in summer and autumn, it is dried in the sun and cut into lengths for use when raw.

Also known as Large Loosestrife.
 
Properties:
Sweet and bland in flavor, slightly cold in nature, it is related to the liver, kidney, gall-bladder and urinary bladder channels.
 
Functions:
Removes dampness and cures jaundice, induces diuresis and relieves strangury (slow and painful spasmodic discharge of urine) as well as eliminates toxic substances and subdues swelling.
 
Applications:
1. To treat jaundice due to damp-heat:

Jinqiancao is often used together with capillary artemisia (Herba Artemisiae Scopariae), gardenia fruit (Fructus Gardeniae), giant knotweed (Rhizoma Polygoni Cuspidati), etc.

2. To treat strangury caused by urinary stones and strangury due to heat:

Jinqiancao can be decocted alone in a large dose for drinking instead of tea or used together with climbing fern spore (Spora Lygodii), chicken gizzard membrane, talcum, etc., e.g., Erjin Paishi Tang.

3. To treat malignant boils, pyogenic infections and snake bite:

Fresh jinqiancao can be blended into juice for drinking and the residue can also be used for external application.
 
Dosage and Administration:
30-60 g.

Decoct this herb for oral administration. Double the dosage for fresh product.

Use an adequate amount externally.
 
Cautions on Use:
 
Reference Materials:
Supplement to the Compendium of Materia Medica : Quotation from Wang Anyun: "Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) with regurgitation, tympanites (distension of the abdomen caused by accumulation of gas) with edema, yellowish white jaundice due to fire, hernia, yin syndromes and exogenous febrile diseases."

Sichuan Records of Chinese Materia Medica
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
Jinqiancao contains phenolic ingredients, sterols, flavonoids, amino acids, tannin, essential oil (volatile oil), choline, potassium salts, etc.

For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).

Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).

The whole plant is anti-inflammatory, cholagogue (stimulates the flow of bile into the duodenum), depurative (purifying the blood), diuretic, and febrifuge.

Jinqiancao can inhibit staphylococcus aureus.

Its decoction has an obvious diuretic effect. It can also promote the discharge of bile from the bile duct and discharge stones.

It is also used to treat mushroom poisoning and drug poisoning.

Other similar herbs:

The plants used as jinqiancao in various places of China include the following:

(1) Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea L.), called Jiangsu jinqiancao as a medicinal material, a plant of the Labiatae family, is customarily used in the Jiangsu-Zhejiang region.

(2) Tickclover (Desmodium styracifolium [Osbeck] Merr.), called Guang jinqiancao as a medicinal material, a plant of the Leguminosae/Fabaceae family, is customarily used in the Guangdong-Guangxi region.

(3) Lawn pennywort (Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides Lam.), called Jiangxi jinqiancao as a medicinal material, a plant of the Umbelliferae family, is customarily used in the Jiangxi region.

(4) Creeping dichondra (Dichondra repens G. Forst.), called xiao jinqiancao as a medicinal material, a plant of the Convolvulaceae family, is customarily used in some areas of Sichuan.
 
 
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