Home / Chinese Herb / CORNUS [山茱萸, SHAN ZHU YU]


Name : CornusShan-Zhu-Yu-b_opt

Chinese Name : 山茱萸

Latin Name : Fructus Corni



This herb is the pulp of the ripe fruit of Cornus officinalis Sieb, et Zucc. of the family Cornaceae. It grows mainly in the mountainous districts of Anhui, Henan, Shaanxi, nd Zhejiang provinces of China. After collection in late autumn, the fruit stone is removed, and the pulp is baked and air-dried.

The fruit has a subacid taste and contains considerabe oil. It has excellent tonic and astrigent properties, and has been used as a diuretic, astrigent, tonic, anthelmintic, and antilithic. It ws recommended fo menorrhagia, impotence, and the urinare difficulties of the elderly.

Today cornus is used for sexual dysfunction, impotence, seminal emission, aching back and knees, vertigo, urinary difficulties of the elderly, and frequent urination caused by kidney-yang debilitation associated with age. It also induces astrigency.

Use of Cornus in TCM

Sour in taste and slightly warm, cornus acts on the liver and kidney meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Nourishes the kidney and liver for treatment of sexual dysfunction: for kidney-yang and liver-yang dificiencies, cornus is prescribed with psoralea fruit and Chinese angelica root in a decoction; or with eucommia, deer antler, lycium fruit, processed rehmannia, schisandra fruit , cuscuta, Chinese yam, and other herbs, as in Shi Bu Wan, to treat sexual dysfunctions and polyuria in the elderly.
  2. Replenishes both liver yin and kidney yin: for spontaneous perspiration, ringing in the ears, and dizziness, cornus is used with lycium fruit, ligustrum fruit, chrysanthemum, and tribulus. It is often blended with processed rehmannia, alisma, hoelen, Chinese yam, and moutan bark, as in the recipe Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (R-22), for replenishing the Vital Essence and to treat yin-deficiency syndromes.
  3. Induces astringency, and stops metrorrhagia and excess menstrual bleeding. Cornus arrests the continued and excessive loss of body fluid or blood, as in cases of metrorrhagia, metrostaxis, and menorrhagia. For these conditions, cornus is prescribed with astragalus root, white peony, oyster shell, cuttlebone, carbonized palm, rubia root (xia cao), and white atractylodes in a decoction, as in the recipe Gu Chong Tang.
  4. For hypertension due to liver and kidney deficiency: cornus fruit is dispensed along with acornus, eucommia, milletia, and other herbs.
  5. For polyuria and enuresis caused by Kidney-Qi deficiency and dysfunction of the bladder, cornus fruit can be mixed with Chinese yam, alpinia fruit and cuscuta in a decoction.


In a decoction of 5 to 10 g. Up to 30 g can be used for severe symptoms.


People suffering from hyperactivity of liver yang, Damp Heat, dysuria, or difficult urination should avoid using this herb or use with caution.

Side Effects and Toxicity

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

Chemical Constituents

Cornus fruit contains iridoid glycosides cornin, cornuside, morroniside, loganin, sweroside, and ursolic acid. Other ingredients include the volatile components benzyl cinnamate, isobutyl alcohol, isoamyl alcohol, methyl eugenol, isoasarone, beta-phenylethyl alcohol, saponin, tannins (isoterchebin, tellimagradins), ursolic acid, gallic acid, tantaic acid, sugar, and vitamin A.

Pharmacological Findings

Cornus fruit showed cadiotonic, diuretic, blood-pressure lowering, hypoglycemic, antihemorrhagic, antiplatelet aggregation, and white blood cell-generating properties.

The othanolic extract of the herb decreased blood sugar in rats with diabetes caused by alloxan, epinephrine, or STZ but did not affect the blood glucose level in normal rats.

An injection of the herb’s solution in vitro significantly inhibited the ADP-, collagen-, or arachidonic acid-induced platelet aggregation of rabbits in a concentration-dependent manner. Intravenous administration of the solution also suppressed ADP-induced platelet aggregation in rabbits.