When it comes to clear heart fire, Juncus effusus, or better known as Deng Xin Cao in Pinyin, is one of the best Chinese herbs you can choose from. Actually it has been used clinically long time ago in herbal remedies for quite a few ailments. Its main habitats include both sides of rivers, pools, ditches, rice fields, and marsh. You may hear but know very little about this herb. Want to know more about this awesome herb? No problem and that is what this article is all about.
What is Juncus effusus?
Also known as Medulla Junci in Latin name and common rush or soft rush in common name, medicinally it refers to the dry pith of Juncus effusus L. [J. Effusus L.Var.Decipiens Buchen.; J.decipiens (Buchen.) Nakai], a plant in the family Juncaceae. Hence it is sometimes called rush pith too. In China it is native to Jiangsu, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and other places. For medicinal uses, this herb is usually harvested from late summer to autumn. After that, keep the stems, dry them in the sun, take the pith out, sort them out, and tie them into bundles.
Juncus plant is a perennial herb, 40 to 100cm in height. Rhizome grows horizontally, with dense fibrous roots. Stems are tufted, erect, slender, cylindrical, 1.5 to 4cm in diameter, and full of white pith inside, which accounts for most of the space. Sheaths are reddish-brown or yellowish in color and sometimes up to 15cm in height. Leaf blade degrades into spine like shape. Inflorescence is pseudo lateral, cymose, flowery, and dense or sparse. Bracts connected with stems are 5 to 10cm long. Rush flower is pale green, 2 to 2.5cm long, and with short handle. Capsule is oblong, apex obtuse or emarginate, as long as or longer than the perianth, with 3 complete diaphragms inside. Seeds are numerous, ovate-oblong, brown, and about 0.4mm. Juncus effusus flowering time is from June to July and fruiting time from July to October.
Main chemical constituents include a variety of phenanthrene derivatives, volatile oil, fiber, fatty oil, protein, and polysaccharides.
Juncus effusus health benefits
As what mentioned before, Juncus is a medicinal plant and known for its efficacy for clearing heart heat. So how it works and how to get the most health benefits from this amazing herb? And here are the proven tips for you.
Modern pharmacological actions
Experiments showed that Juncus has diuretic and hemostatic effects.
Proven Juncus related herbal remedies
In the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Juncus is believed as sweet, tasteless, and slightly cold in properties. And it covers 4 meridians such as heart, lung, bladder and small intestine. Its chief functions are treating stranguria by promoting diuresis and clearing heart by reducing pathogenic fire. Main Juncus effusus uses and indications are stranguria, edema, difficult urination, damp-heat jaundice, vexation and sleeplessness, infantile nocturnal fretfulness, pharyngitis, mouth sores, trauma, and more. Recommended decoction dosage is from 1 to 3 grams in dried herb and from 15 to 30 grams in fresh herb.
Xuan Qi San
Xuan Qi San comes from Dan Xi Xin Fa (Dan Xi’s Heart Methods of Treatment). This formula is mainly formulated for sharp pain due to retention of urine. Other major herbal ingredients include Mu Tong (Akebia Caulis), Hua Shi (Talcum Powder), Dong Kui Zi (Musk Mallow Seeds), Zhi Zi (Gardenia), and Gan Cao (licorice root).
Tian Yi Wan
Tian YI Wan comes from Han Shi Yi Tong (Han’s Book of Medicine). This prescription is basically designed for cleaning out water passages. The rest of other herbs are Fu Ling (Poria), Talcum Powder, Zhu Ling (Polyporus Sclerotium), Ze Xie (Water Plantain Root), and Ren Shen (Ginseng).
Deng Xin San
Deng Xin San is from Pu Ji Fang (Prescriptions of Universal Relief). This is primarily used for the symptoms after the eruption of measles, including irritation, wheezing, and difficult urination. In this formula Juncus effusus joins hands with Soft Turtle Shell (Bie Jia) to enhance the efficacy.
Deng Xin Zhu Ye Tang
Deng Xin Zhu Ye Tang is from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns & Treatment). This prescription is principally used to treat irritability due to heart heat, insomnia and sleeplessness, and nocturnal fretfulness infants. The other herb in this formula is Dan Zhu Ye (Lophatherum).
Ba Zheng San
Ba Zheng San is from Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Formulas of the Peaceful Benevolent Dispensary). It is mainly used for the treatment of stranguria. Clinically in order to bring out the best effect, it needs to couple with Akebia Caulis, Qu Mai (Dianthus), Che Qian Zi (Plantain Seeds), and so on.
Possible Juncus effusus side effects and contraindications
As of this writing there is no further information available about the Juncus effusus toxicity. However, according to its clinical history it is relatively safe to be consumed if used properly. TCM wise, Deng Xin Cao herb shouldn’t be used in the cases of cold of insufficiency type and urinary incontinence.