Chinese Name : 稀薟草
Latin Name : Herba Siegesbeckiae
This medicinal herb is the dried aerial (aboveground) parts of Siegesbeckia orientalis L ., S. pubescens Makino, or S.glabrescens Makino of the family Compositae. It is mainly grown in the Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Zhejiang provinces of China where it is harvested in the summer, cleaned, dried, and used unprocessed or stir baked with wine. Traditionally, the herb was used to improve appetite, in wounds to relieve pain, for insect bites, and for numbness in the extremities. The root and fruit of siegesbeckia are also used for similar purposes. Siegesbeckia is good for treating symptoms of arthralgia (Wind-Cold-Damp) Bi syndromes, and chronic back pain.
Use of Siegesbeckia in TCM
Bitter in taste, and cold, it acts on the liver, spleen, and kidney meridians. It is also slightly toxic.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Relieves symptoms of rheumatism, particularly Febrile-Bi syndrome: for arthritis, lassitude, numbness in limbs, pain in the legs and waist, or flaccidity, siegesbeckia is used alone in a decoction or combined with achyranthes, pubescent angelica root, loranthus, and acanthopanax.
- Treats hypertension: this herb can also be prescribed (as a daily tea of 15 g) alone or with chrysanthemum, prunella, and clerodendron trichotomi (chou wu tong) to relieve dizziness and hypertension due to hyperactivity of the liver yang.
- Detoxification: to counteract pyretic toxicity, urticaria, eczema, suppurative infections in the body, and swelling, it is combined with wild chrysanthemum, dandelion, viola, and mastic in a decoction.
- Treats neurasthenia and insomnia. It can be used alone in tea or with other sedative herbs in a decoction.
- Treats cerebral apoplexy and cerebral vascular disease: siegesbeckia herb is combined with carthamus (3 g), acanthopanax and siler (9 g each) in a decoction to treat hemiplegia and after-stroke syndrome. It can also be combined with pubescent angelica, loranthus, acanthopanax, and achyranthes in a decoction.
In a decoction of 6 to 12 g or its juice can be used to relieve skin infections, carbuncles, abscesses, and inflammation.
People with yin and blood deficiency and anemia should use this herb with caution.
Side Effects and Toxicity
This herb is slightly toxic as recorded in classical Chinese material medica. No adverse effects were reported after prolonged oral administration at the suggested dose. The LD50 of injection solution of the herb in mice was 45.54 ± 1.44 g/kg by intravenous administration.
Siegesbeckia contains alkaloids, darutosids, darutogenol, isodarutogenol B and C, orientin, orientalide, stigmasterol, phenol, amino acids, organic acids, sugar, and darutin-bitter.
Siegesbeckia is anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antipruritic, antirheumatic, and detoxifying.
In sixty-seven cases of hypertension a daily dose of the decoction of 30 g and 10 g of di gu pi (Cortex lycii) decreased diastolic pressure by more than 20 mmHg in thirty-five cases and by more than 10 mmHg in another twenty-two cases. The neurotic symptoms were also improved.