Home / Chinese Herb / GLEHNIA [北沙參, BEI SHA SHEN]


Name : GlehniaGlehnia Root / Bei Sha Shen

Chinese Name : 北沙參

Latin Name : Radix  Glehniae


This herb is the root and rhizome of  Glehnia littoralis Fr. Schimidt ex. Miq. of the family Umbelliferae. It grows mainly in the Hebei, Jiangsu,Liaoning, and Shandong provinces of China. Harvested in summer and washed  clean, the rootlets are discarded. The roots are skinned after scalding in boiling water, then sliced or cut into small segments, dried in the sun, and used unprocessed.

Traditionally, glehnia is a yin tonic herb, promoting the production body fluids to moisten  the eyes, throat, and mouth, relieve a dry cough and bronchitis, and treat tuberculosis.

Use of Glehnia in TCM

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

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Removes Heat from the lungs and relieves bronchitis:
  • For a dry cough due to Heat in the lungs and chronic bronchitis, glehnia is blended with ophiopogon root, polygonatum rhizome (yu zhu), trichosanthes root, licorice root, dolichos nut (bai bian dou), and mulberry leaf in a decoction.
  • For dry, itchy skin in the winter, glehnia is prescribed with ophiopogon root, Chinese angelica, and polygonatum rhizome in a decoction.
  1. Strengthens the stomach and improves the production of body fluids: for dry mouth, thirst, poor  appetite, and constipation, it is often mixed with dried rehmannia and ophiopogon root.


In a decoction of 10 to 15 g, 6 g in powder  form for oral use


People with a cough caused  by Wind-Cold cold and a feeling of weakness should avoid this herb. Glehnia should not be used with veratrum root.

Side Effects and Toxicity

The therapeutic dose is safe. No adverse reactions have been reported

Chemical Constituents

Glehnia root contains the alkaloids furanocoumaines imperatorin, psoralen, xanthotoxol, xanthotoxin, isoimperatorin, and  bergapten. Other ingredients are essential oils, beta-sitosterol, petroselenic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and phellopterin.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. Expectorant and antitussive
  2. Analgesic and antipyretic. Lowers body temperature
  3. Inhibits cardiac activities depending on dosage