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xi xin 細辛

by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Pharmaceutical name:

Herba cum Radice Asari

Biological name:

Asarum heterotropoides Fr. Schmidt var. mandshuricum (Maxim.) Kitag

Asarum sieboldi Mig

Pron. in Cantonese:

sai sen

Other Names:

xi shen 细参,yan dai wo hua 烟袋锅花,wan bing cao 万病草。

Common Name:

Chinese wild ginger, asarum, manchurian wildginger


throughout northeastern China,  and Shananxi, Henan, Shandong, Zhejiang, Fujian

Properties (characteristics)性味﹕

acrid, warm, toxic to kidney

辛,溫, 對腎臟有毒

Channels (meridians) entered:


heart, kidney, lung, liver


Actions & Indications:


promotes sweating and disperse cold, warms lungs rid of phlegm. For deafness, ingrown eye lashes; to clear sinus. Use externally for boils in mouth and tongue.

有發表散寒、袪風止痛、溫肺化飲、耳 聾、治倒 睫、宣通鼻竅的功能。外用治口舌生瘡。


Medical Function: 藥理作用﹕

Medical Function:

  1.  anti allergy

  2.  anti histamine

  3.  antipyretic and pain relieving

  4.  local anaesthetic

  5.  anti bacteria


  1.  抗 過 敏 作 用 

  2.  抗 組 織 胺 作 用

  3.  解 熱 鎮 痛 作 用

  4.  局部麻醉作 用

  5.  抗菌作 用

Chemical ingredients:

1. methyl eugenol, alpha-pinene,  camphene, abeta-pinene, myrcene, sabinene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, terpinolene, borneol, estragole, 3, 5-dimethoxytoluene, safrole, methyl eugenol, asarone, myristicin, elemicin, eucarvone, 2-isopropyl-5-methylanisole.

(+-)-car-3-ene-2, 5-dione, 3, 4, 5-trimethoxytoluene, 2, 3, 5 -trimethyoxytoluene[3].

kakual, saishinone.

2. terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, naphthalene, n-pentadecane, croweacin[1,2], asarylketone, l-ararinin.

3. bornyl acetate, trimethoxyallylbenzene, I. II, III[5].

Other: potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc.


0.4 to 4 g. Classical texts mentioned usage not to go over one qian (3.75 grams).


Samples of formulae:

1. for agina: xi xin, gui zhi, jiu bai, dang gui, dan shen

2. for pain in lower back, knees and abdomen: xi xin, du huo, sang ji sheng, chuan duan, wu yao, dang gui

3. for cough due to cold entering lungs:  use xiao qing lung tang: xi xin, gan jiang, wu wei zi, ban xia, ma huang, xing ren

4. breast hard, swollen, painful; menses not flowing: xi xin, dang gui, chi shao, chuan qiong (chuan xiong), hong hua, bai zhi, gua lo

5. for pain, itchy, running eyes: xi xin, cao jue min, shi jue ming, yang gan (goat liver), mu zei cao, xia ku cao

1. 治胸痺心痛: 細辛、桂枝、薤白、當歸、丹參

2. 治腰、膝、腹部疼痛: 細辛、獨活、桑寄生、川斷、烏藥、當歸

3. 小青龍湯, 治寒飲犯肺的咳喘: 細辛、乾薑、五味子、半夏、麻黃、杏仁

4 治婦人乳結疼脹,經血不行﹕ 細辛、

5 治目痛,目癢,流淚﹕ 細辛、草決明、石決明、羊肝、木賊草、夏枯草

Modern Research:

 to be loaded


not to use in cases of cold sweat due to qi deficient; headache due to yin deficient and yang over active, cough due to yin deficient and heat in lungs.   Not to use with shan zhu yu, huang qi, hua shi, or li lu. Do not use over one qian (3.75 g)

It belongs to the Aristolochia family. This herb is toxic for the kidneys.

本 品 為 馬 兜 鈴 科 植 物 東 北 細 辛 ( Asarum heterotropoides FR. SCHMIDT var. mandshuricum (MAXIM.) KITAG ) 及 同 屬 近 緣 植 物 之 乾 燥 根 及 根 莖 。對腎臟有毒。

氣虛多汗、陰虛陽亢頭痛、陰虛肺熱咳嗽忌服。不宜與山茱臾﹐黃耆﹐滑石 或藜蘆同用。每服不可過一錢。





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Toxicity of Some Herbs  

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Herbs that can be toxic to kidneys

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Last update: Jan 4, 2005, 6:37 p.m. LA