Home / Chinese Herb / GARDENIA [栀子, ZHI ZI]


Name : Gardeniagardenia_opt

Chinese Name : 栀子

Latin Name : Fructus Gardeniae


This herb is the ripe fruit of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis of the family Rubiaceae. It is mainly grown in the Hunan, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces of China. The fruit is dried after harvesting, and  used unprocessed or stir baked to a brown color.

Traditionally, the fruit was used for dying purposes. It renders a beautiful yellow color. Medicinally,  it was used for fevers, fluxes, dropsy, lung diseases, jaundice, and externally as a vulnerary remedy. Gardenia is an antipyretic, sedative, and hemostatic agent for bleeding in febrile diseases.

Use of Gardenia in TCM

Bitter in taste, and cold, it acts on the heart, lung, stomach, and liver meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Relieves Heat and alleviates dysphoria: gardenia is an antipyretic and a sedative, and is used with prepared soybean or with  coptis root and  scute root, as in Qing Wen Bai Du Yin, to  treat  high fever, dysphoria, melancholia, uneasiness, restlessness, anxiety, and unconsciousness or delirium due to excessive internal Heat.
  2. Dispels stagnation of pathogenic Heat and Dampness: for high fever, jaundice, scanty dark urine, and hepatitis due to an accumulation of Damp-Heat in the liver and gallbladder, gardenia is prescribed with capillaris, rhubarb, and phellodendron bark, as in Yin Chen Hao  Tang (R-67). Gardenia is used with  plantain  seed, akebia caulis, polygonum stem (ye jiao teng), licorice root, and  rhubarb, as in Ba Zheng San, to treat urination disturbances, such as painful urination, frequent urination, dysuria, dripping of urine, cystitis, and acute urethritis.
  3. Relieves the stagnant liver-Qi: to relieve headaches, dizziness, painful menstruation, costal pain, red and painful eyes, spontaneous perspiration, night sweating, and urinary difficulties due to stagnation of the liver Qi, gardenia is combined with moutan, white peony root, Chinese angelica, bupleurum, and cyperus tuber, as in Dan Zhi Xiao Yao Wan (R-42).


In a decoction of 3 to 10 g.


People with spleen deficiency,diarrhea, and Cold in the stomach should  avoid this herb.

Side Effects and Toxicity

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

Chemical Constituents

Gardenia contains iridoid glycoside including gardenoside, scanposide, geniposide, gardoside,  and shanzhiside. Other ingredients include pigment, crocetin, crocin, gardenia, mannitol, beta-sitosterol, and nonacosane.

Pharmacological Findings

Gardenia showed sedative, antipyretic, hypnotic, cholagogue, antiparasitic, and  hypotensive  activities.