Gold Coin Grass (Lysimachia, Jin Qian Cao)
Gold coin grass is also known as Herba Lysimachiae in scientific name and Jin Qian Cao in Chinese name. It is named so because of its coin-like leaves and, more importantly, its medicinal properties that are as precious as gold. It is also worth mentioning that many people love to use it for tea on daily basis as it smells good and tastes like tea. What does gold coin grass do? Actually this herb can be found in almost all Chinese ancient liver gallbladder cleanse recipes, thanks to its amazing ability on dissolving stones and other health benefits. Besides of the compound prescriptions, clinically it is also often being used alone for gallstone removal. Does gold coin grass really work on gallstones? How does gold coin grass work? Let’s get to know more about this Chinese herb now.
What is gold coin grass?
It mainly means the dry whole plant of Lysimachia christinae Hance, which belongs to the family Primulaceae. Other names include lysimachia, coin herb, chin-chien tsao, and coin weed. It is primarily distributed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and usually collected during summer and autumn. Before the use, remove the impurities, dry in the sun, cut into sections, and use raw. In fact, there are many varieties of Jin Qian Cao. They have various functions but most are capable of clearing heat, inducing diuresis and treating stranguria. However, the most common species are Lysimachia christinae Hance and Herba Lysimachiae seu Desmodii Styracifolii. The latter is better known as Herba Desmodii Styracifolii, Desmodium styracifolium, or Guang Jin Qian Cao herb.
Lysimachia is a perennial creeping herb. Stems are delicate, prostrate, and 20 to 60cm long; surface is gray-green or reddish purple; the entire plant is glabrous or sparsely hairy. Opposite leaves are glabrous and with 1 to 3cm petiole; blade is oval, nearly round to kidney shape, 1.5 to 8cm long, and 1 to 6cm wide. Solitary flowers are axillary, with 1 to 5cm pedicels, 4 to 10cm calyx, and 7 to 15mm bell-shaped corolla. Capsule is spherical, glabrous, 3 to 5mm in diameter, and with black gland lines and valvular dehiscence. Flowering period is from May to July and fruiting season is from July to October.
Whole plant contains flavonoids, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, uracil, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, nitrite, cAMP, cGMP, polysaccharides and 9 trace elements including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, cadmium, nickel, and cobalt. In addition, the flavonoids contain quercetin, isoquercitrin or quercetin-3-O-gluco-side, kaempferol, trifolin, and so on.
Gold coin grass benefits
Now this herb is available in the forms of gold coin grass supplement, tea, herbal tincture, extract, capsules, powder, pills, granule (Jin Qian Cao Chong Ji) and so on. So, what is gold coin grass used for? As mentioned above, it is good at flushing out gallstones from the gallbladder as well as toxins from the liver. What’s more, long-term use of it can also prevent the formation and generation of stones. According to clinical observations, lysimachia works best on liver and gallbladder flush among all those stone-dissolving herbs. As one of the most common urological diseases, upper urinary tract stones mainly refer to kidney stones and ureter stones, in which main clinical manifestations are activities associated hematuria and pain. When the stones cause complete ureteral obstruction, renal colic may occur. In this case, about 90% of them would be detected with calculus through X-ray. This condition is under the category of “Shilin”, “Shalin”, and “Xuelin” in traditional Chinese medicine. TCM believes that the main cause of this condition is that bladder damp-heat or damp-heat accumulated in lower energizer, which scorches the fluid and in a long time the impurities in urine condense into stones, block urinary tract, and thus causes pain. Apparently such kind of view is quite different from its modern pharmacology.
Modern lysimachia pharmacological actions
1. Its decoction can significantly promote the bile secretion, make sediment in bile duct easy to be discharged, alleviate the clogging of gall bladder, achieve pain relief, and treat jaundice;
2. It has antibacterial effects as well as anti-inflammatory effect;
3. It has inhibition on humoral immunity and cellular immunity, which is similar to that of cyclophosphamide. And the inhibition is even stronger when they are used together;
4. It inhibits the skin allograft rejection time.
Selected lysimachia herbal remedies
As recorded in the Chinese Materia Medica, lysimachia is sweet and slightly bitter in taste and cool in nature. It goes to 4 meridians of liver, gallbladder, kidney, and bladder. Typical functions include alleviating water retention to treat stranguria, removing heat and toxic substance, and eliminating stasis to subdue swelling. Chief medicinal uses and indications are hepatolithiasis, urinary calculi, heat strangury, nephritis edema, damp-heat jaundice, carbuncle, snakebite, and bruises. Suggested gold coin grass dosage is from 15 to 60 grams in dried herb or 30 to 120 in fresh herb, in decoction or juice.
1. Damp-heat jaundice. It not only clears the fire in liver and gallbladder, but also eliminates dampness and heat in lower Jiao. So it can cure jaundice. And often it combines with Yin Chen Hao (Herba Artemisiae Scopariae), Zhi Zi (Gardenia), Hu Zhang (Japanese Knotweed), etc. to increases the effectiveness.
2. Urolithiasis and heat strangury. It is good at removing stones. In the treatment of urolithiasis, it can be used alone in large dose or combined with Hai Jin Sha (Lygodium), Ji Nei Jin (Chicken Gizzard Lining), Hua Shi (Talcum Powder), and so on; As for heat strangury, it frequently couples with Che Qian Zi (Plantain Seeds), Bian Xu (knotweed), etc.; and in the case of hepatolithiasis, it is often formulated with Herba Artemisiae Scopariae, Da Huang (Rhubarb), and Yu Jin (Tumeric Tuber). A good example is the Li Dan Pai Shi Pian (Cholagogic and Lithagogue Tablet), from “Chinese Pharmacopoeia” (1995 edition, 1 Volume).
3. Boils, carbuncles and snake bites. The remedy is to extract the juice from the fresh herb for oral administration or to smash for external application. In addition, it can also be used along with dandelion Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion), Ye Ju Hua (Wild Chrysanthemum Flower), etc.
Gold coin grass side effects and contraindications
Since gold coin grass herb is characterized as a medicine that is good at inducing diuresis, it may lead to the symptom of vertigo if used for a long time due to the loss of potassium. For the very same reason, patients with diarrhea and those who are taking antidiuretic are highly advisable not to use it. Clinically there were reports that it might cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions. And the safety of lysimachia during pregnancy and breastfeeding remains unknown though it is generally considered safe if used in the recommended dose.