Home / Chinese Herb / ARCTIUM FRUIT [牛旁子, NIU BANG ZI]


Name : Arctium or Burdock Fruit

Chinese Name : 牛旁子

Latin Name : Fructus Arctii


This herb is the dried ripe fruit Arctium lappa of the family Compositae. It is mainly produced in the Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning,  and  Zhejiang provinces of China. The ripe  fruit is collected in the fall, dried in the sun, and used unprocessed. Arctium fruit is a diaphoretic, effective in treating Exterior syndromes, and is also used for treating febrile diseases and throat infections, such as acute pharyngtis and tonsilitis.

Use of Arctium Fruit in TCM

Acrid and bitter in taste, and cool, it acts on the lung and stomach meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Relieves flu and colds caused by exogenous Wind-Heat pathogens: to treat inflammation of the throat, aute pharyngitis, and acute tonsillitis, arctium fruit is mixed with lonicera, forsythia fruit, and peppermint, as in Yin Qiao San.
  2. Antimicrobial actions: arctium fruit is combined with isatis root (ban lan gen), cimicifuga, and scute root (huang qin) in a decoction to treat carbuncles, erythemas, mumps, and acute febrile maculopapular skin rash.
  3. Relieves rashes and measles: arctium fruit is blended with pueraria and mentha for treating the early stages of measles. It is also used for mumps,  erysipelas, carbuncles, and sores.


In a decoction of 3 to 9 g.


People with spleen deficiency, diarrhea, and Qi and blood deficiency should avoid this herb.

Side Effects and Toxicity

No undersirable side effects or toxicity were  reported at the therapeutic dose in classical Chinese materia medica.

Chemical Constituents

Arctium fruit contains several ingredients: lignans, thiophene derivatives, sesquiterpenes , polyenic  compounds, and polysaccharides, as well as phytosterols. The most important lignans are arctiin, lapaols A, B, C and E arctigenin. Beta-sitosterol, and isoarctigenin. The fatty acids include arachidonic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid, as well as vitamins A, B, and C.

Pharmacological Findings

Arctium fruit shows antifungal activity in vitro and  is hypoglycemic, diuretic, antipyretic, and purgative, and  also lowers blood pressure.