Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

plantain seedsThanks to their significant effect in treating kidney Yang deficiency, plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) are one of herbs frequently used in Chinese medicine practices. If you are interested in knowing more about this amazing herb, read on and you will find all the answers to questions like what is plantain seed? What are its primary functions? How should you take it to maximize the benefits?

What are plantain seeds?

It refers to the dried mature seeds of psyllium (Che Qian Cao), including Plantago asiatica L. or P. depressa Willd. Actually the former is found everywhere in China, and the latter grows mainly in Northern provinces. The medicinal seeds are usually collected in summer and autumn when they are ripe. The typical process is harvesting the clusters, drying in the sun, rubbing the fruits out with the hands, and removing the impurities. Plantain seed is usually used in the forms of either unprocessed or stir-fried with salt-water.

The genuine plantain seeds are in the shapes of oval, and irregular oblong or triangular-shaped oblong. It is slight flat, about 2mm long and 1mm wide. The surface color is from yellowish brown to dark brown, with fine wrinkles. Off-white concave dot umbilici are usually seen on one side. Besides, it is kind of hard, slightly odorous, and tasteless.

What is plantain seed used for?

In the practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is considered sweet, and slightly cold in nature. And it goes to four meridians like liver, kidney, lung, and small intestine. Its main functions are to clear heat, promote urination, eliminate dampness to check diarrhea, clear the eyes, and expel phlegm. Its primary uses and indications are difficult urination, morbid vaginal discharge, stranguria with turbid discharge, edema, tumidness, diarrhea induced by summer-heat and damp, bloodshot eyes, slight corneal opacity, and asthma due to phlegm-heat stasis. Usual dosage is from 9 to 15 grams based on the diagnosis.

Modern medical research

Now modern medical research has figured out its chemical composition – it contains lymphatic temperament, succinic acid, flavanone glycosides, Planterolic acid, Plantaginin, Adenine or 6-Aminopurine, Plantenolic acid, choline, Catalpol, fatty oil, vitamins A, B, and so on.

This herb has a significant diuretic effect. It can also promote the respiratory mucus secretion and dilute the mucus. As a result, it is a great expectorant too. Moreover, it inhibits a variety of bacteria and Staphylococcus. In addition, its extract is able to prevent the formation of kidney stones too.

Related Chinese herbal recipes

Ba Zheng San

Ba zheng San, from Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Formulas of the Peaceful Benevolent Dispensary), is commonly used for treatments of dribbling urination or difficulty and pain in micturition due to downward flow of damp-heat to bladder. This is because sweet, cold plantain seeds are good at facilitating the circulation of waterways, and clearing heat accumulation in bladder. Other major herbs are Mu Tong (Akebia Caulis), Hua Shi (Talcum Powder), Qu Mai (Dianthus), and so on.

Ji sheng Shen Qi Wan

Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan, from Ji sheng fang (Formulas to Aid the Living), is designed for kidney deficiency due to long time disease, lumbar heaviness, and pedal edema. Other main herbs are Huai Niu Xi (Achyranthes Root), Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia, Chinese Foxglove Root), Shan Zhu Yu (Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit), Rou Gui (Dried Cinnamon Bark), and more.

Che Qian Zi San

This formula is from Yang Shi Jia Cang Fang (Yang’s Family Heritage Formulas). It treats diarrhea induced by summer-heat and damp. Other herbs combined with are Xiang Ru (Aromatic Madder), Fu Ling (Poria, China Root), and Zhu Ling (Polyporus Sclerotium).

Zhu Jing Wan

Zhu Jing Wan, from Tai Ping Sheng Hui Fang (Taiping Holy Prescriptions for Universal Relief), is good for dim-sighted sufferers because of Yin deficiency in liver and kidney. Other primary herbs are Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia, Chinese Foxglove Root), and Tu Si Zi (Chinese Dodder Seeds).

Shan Yao Che Qian Zi Tang

This prescription, from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence), is the cure for xerophthalmia and ophthalmodynia due to liver heat. Other basic herbs are Jue Ming Zi (Cao Jue Ming, Foetid Cassia Seeds), Qing Xiang Zi (Celosia Seeds), Huang Lian (Coptis Rhizome), and more.

Plantain seeds’ potential side effects and contraindications

Plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) side effects do exist. From the point of TCM view, this herb may lead to the impairment of yin. Hence, it should be used with care in cases of over tiredness, internal injury, sinking of Yang Qi, night emission because of kidney deficiency, and no syndrome of damp-heat.

9 thoughts on “Plantain Seeds (Che Qian Zi)

  1. Elsje

    Very amazing and am interested. I like to know how to use the plant and the seed, and I will be thankful and appreciate , for send me some recipes.

  2. Eric McLaughlin

    Rhubarb in pills will knock kill any virus like Hepatitis in 2 hours. The other part is opening the channels of the liver, which is strangled by the virus (hence the eye sight suffering) I’m intrigued by plantain seeds and their effects, and this page.

  3. Luis

    Can you please provide the botanical name of CHE QIAN ZI, since it’s easy to confuse it with the “Banana” form.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

  4. John

    Eric is correct about Rhubarb pills but don’t eat the leafs fresh from the garden they are poisonous and will make you sick or kill you. The stalks are perfectly good to eat as we all know rhubarb pie. I have been using these for over two months three capsules a day Qianlieshule capsules (grand)
    They contain Epimedium, astragalus, Puhuang, plantain, Cyathula.
    My Prostatitis infection has decreased & bladder, burning while urinating gone, leakage gone to the point that I no longer require to wear men’s depends day or night YES! My wife brought back a three months supply and I said Chinese’s herbal no way it will work.
    I have been on Ciprofloxacin for one year straight twice in my life and it is only a temporary solution.
    I have also seen some activity in the penis who has seen no ability to stand up for a few years although I want to well you all know. It is now starting to show partial erections amazing my wife said OMG it isn’t dead LOL. I’m 60 + years. Hoping it will gain at least one full erection one last time? 🙂

  5. charles Frimpong Mansoh

    Very interested to have the plantago seeds to help control suspected onset of glaucoma as well as the rubharb. Am in Ghana Accra. If there is any known shop to contact.


  6. Hobbor

    In the very first sentence of the article it is written that “Thanks to their significant effect in treating kidney Yang deficiency, plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) …”

    Is that mistyping that plantain seeds treat kidney Yang deficiency? Because later in the article it is written that “… it is considered sweet, and slightly cold in nature”.

  7. hobbor

    This article says:
    1. “… it is considered sweet, and slightly cold in nature”.
    2. “Thanks to their significant effect in treating kidney Yang deficiency, plantain seeds…”

    May I ask you, are plantain seeds used as a yang tonic? Because usually yang tonics are warm in nature, and plantain seeds are cold in nature.

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

  8. Leo

    [quote]Thanks to their significant effect in treating kidney Yang deficiency, plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi)[/quote]
    May I ask you, do plantain seeds are used as yang tonic?


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