Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong)
Botanical Name: Ligusticum chuanxiong (aka L. wallichii or L. striatum)
Long used by the Chinese as a medicinal herb, it is also used in cooking and as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Not to be confused with Ligusticum sinense or Ligusticum porteri, plants that are in the same genus, but have different attributes, Ligusticum wallichii is a famous blood tonic herb that can also help relieve pain and inflammation.
Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – A Story of 3 Ligusticums.
Below is an overview of ligusticum, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of ligusticum.
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Western Name: Ligusticum
Also Known As: Szechuan Lovage Root
Organs/Systems: Cardiovascular, Immune, Menses
Key Actions: Immune Enhancement, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Antispasmodic, Sedative, Pain Relief
Medicinal Uses: Treats a wide variety of hematological disorders including ischemia and thrombosis.
Pin Yin: Chuan Xiong
Also Known As: Szechuan Lovage Root
Meridians: Liver, Gallbladder, Pericardium
Key Actions: Invigorates Qi, Moves Blood, Tonifies Yin, Relieves Pain and Inflammation, Dispels Wind
Medicinal Uses: Often used to relieve symptoms related to menstruation (cramping, headaches, nausea, or late starting menses) and other general gynecological disorders. It also treats angina, coronary, cerebral ischemia, and traumatic injuries. A leading herb for any externally contracted Wind disorder characterized by headache, dizziness, neck and shoulder spasms, or painful obstruction.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
Perennial plant with hermaphrodite flowers that are pollinated by insects. It is in the carrot family.
It is native to India and Nepal and is now mainly cultivated in Sichuan province in China. Also cultivated in Jiangxi, Hubei, and Xhaaxi.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Root, Rhizome
Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Pungent, Slightly Bitter, Slightly Sweet, Aromatic, Warm
Caution: Up to 9 g is considered safe, with up to 3-6 g used to treat irregular menses. If you overdose, vomiting and dizziness can occur.
Key Constituents: Alkaloid (Tetramethylpyrazine), Ferulic acid (a phenolic compound), Chrysophanol, Sedanoic acid, Essential oils (Ligustilide and Butylphthalide)
History/Folklore: Ligusticum is a very popular herb in China and Korea, where it grows wild and has been cultivated for centuries. It is widely used to treat gynecological disorders and disorders due to blood clotting, including injuries and coronary and cerebral clotting. It is also commonly used to treat colds and flu, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain.
Ligusticum is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is said to Nourish Yin and supplement Kidney Qi, strengthening the Muscles and Bones and promoting clear vision and improved hearing.
Shen Nung, China’s first herbalist said, “It is a tonic to the Vital Centers, brightens the eye, strengthens the Yin, quiets the five viscera, nourishes the vital principle, makes vigorous the loins and naval, expels “the hundred diseases”, restores gray hair, and if taken for a long time will increase the firmness of the flesh, giving sprightliness and youth to the body.”
The herb is also popularly used when the seasons are changing between the summer and fall, as these are times, when either people fall ill or existing symptoms can become aggravated. Allergic and dry coughs, eczema, muscle aches, and joint stiffness all benefit from ligusticum during this time of year.
A highly aromatic herb, it is used in China, not only to Move Blood and Qi, but also to Warm the Meridians, Protect Blood, and Cool Excess Fire.
Its scent is described as earthy with a hint of caramel or butterscotch. It is used as a food flavoring and added to cosmetics for its fragrance.
Because ligusticum excels at improving both Blood and Qi circulation, it is considered to be an excellent cleansing tonic, especially for the Liver.
It combines well with almost any other tonic herb and may be added to almost any formula.
Not to be confused with Ligusticum sinense or Ligusticum porteri, plants that are in the same genus, but that have different attributes. Ligusticum wallichii (aka Szechuan Lovage Root, Chuan Xiong) is a famous blood tonic herb that can also help relieve pain and inflammation. It is an acrid, pungent, and warming herb. Ligusticum sinense (aka Chinese Lovage Root, Straw Weed, or Gao Ben) is best known for treating bladder infections and lung infections. It is a warm, pungent herb. Ligusticum porteri (aka Osha, Tie Da Yin Chen) is native to North America and is best known for treating bronchitis, sore throats, cold and flu, and pneumonia. It is pungent, slightly bitter, and warming. Pay attention to identification if wild harvesting, as Hemlock, a poisonous plant, is also often confused with Ligusticum porteri. Ligusticum porteri (Osha) has oval seeds and Hemlock has purple spots on its stem, while Osha has no spots.
Move Blood and Qi
A highly aromatic herb used by the Chinese to move Blood and Qi, as well as warm the meridians, protect blood, and cool excess fire.
Cleanse the Liver
Ligusticum is so good at improving circulation that it is considered an excellent liver-cleansing tonic.
Ligusticum combines well with almost any other tonic herb and may be added to almost any formula.
Take FULL advantage of Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong)!
Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.
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