Siegesbeckia (Xi Xian Cao)

xi-xian-caoWhen it comes to siegesbeckia herb, also known as Herba Siegesbeckiae in pharmaceutical Latin and Xi Xian Cao in Pinyin, very few people might know something about it since it is quite unattractive and unpleasant. Actually its Chinese name, literally “Pig Pungent Weed”, says it all. According to Li Shizhen, it got a name like this due to its pig-like smell and pungent taste. However, this unlovely weed has long been found with amazing medicinal properties for rheumatalgia. In addition, today modern researchers also found that it improves immunity and lowers blood pressure. But the health benefits of siegesbeckia weed don’t end here and apparently it is capable of more than what the world thinks it is not. So, now let’s get to know more about this Chinese herb.

What is siegesbeckia?

It is a genus of Asteraceae and owns a few annual plants. When it is used as medicine, it actually means the dried aerial part of Siegesbeckia orientalis L., Siegesbeckia pubescens Makino, or Siegesbeckia glabrescens Makino. In China they are primarily produced in Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangsu. The best reaping time is summer and autumn before and during the blossom. Before used raw or steamed with Shaoxing wine, the impurities should be remove and they should be dried. And the high-quality one is with many leaves, thick gray-green stem, buds, and no roots and impurities.

Siegesbeckia orientalis is an annual herb, up to 1 meter or more. The upper part of branches, especially the inflorescence branches, is covered with purple-brown, capitate, and long-handle trichomes and white, long pubescence. Leaves are opposite and blade is thin, short-haired both sides, and with white long pubescence along the veins. Capitulum is 2 to 3 cm in diameter, many, and arranged in corymbose. Achene is about 3.5mm. Flowering times is from August to October and the fruiting time from September to December. Habitats are wood edge, forest, wilderness, and roadside.

It mainly contains terpenes and glycosides, such as Darutoside, Darutogenol, Isodarutogenol, Stigmasterol, Orientin, Orientalide, and so on.

Siegesbeckia benefits

It is native to Southeast Asia and adapts to hot, humid environments. So, medicinally what is siegesbeckia used for? Actually its medicinal history can be dated back to the Tang Dynasty, about 1,000 years ago. Then it was formally recorded in Xin Xiu Ben Cao (Newly Compiled Materia Medica) as a medicine mainly for eliminating wind-damp. And long before a few hundreds of years, the sap secreted by siegesbeckia leaves has been used by the ancient Chinese people to treat rheumatism. In recent years, it was found with an active ingredient that has aspirin-like structure. Currently, its calming and soothing effect are being used by the field of beauty.

Clinically siegesbeckia plant and Chou Wu Tong (Folium Clerodendri Trichotomi) are capable of treating rheumatism, rubella, eczema, urticaria, and pruritus. As a result, they are commonly used in pair to treat many ailments. However, they have their own advantage respectively. Siegesbeckia is still good at treating physical challenges like paralysis that commonly occur after stroke since it can get rid of wind-damp between the bones and muscles; Folium Clerodendri Trichotomi also treats dizziness and headache since it tranquilizes liver Yang.

Modern pharmacological actions

1) It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic;
2) It is antihypertensive;
3) It inhibits cellular immunity, humoral immunity and nonspecific immunity;
4) It can enhance T cell proliferation, promote the activity of IL-2, inhibit IL-1 activity, and improve local pathological reactions by adjusting the body’s immune function to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis;
5) It can dilate blood vessels;
6) It significantly inhibits thrombosis;
7) It has a strong inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus;
8) It has a certain inhibitory effect on Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella sonnei, Salmonella typhi, staphylococcus albus, Neisseria catarrhalis, Salmonella Enteritidis, plasmodium yoelii, and the like;
9) It has moderate inhibition on herpes simplex virus;
10) It can excite the uterus and has obvious anti-pregnancy effect.

Sample siegesbeckia recipes on herbal remedies

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is acrid and bitter in flavor and cold in nature. It goes to meridians of liver and kidney. Basic functions are expelling wind-damp, lubricating joint, and detoxifying. Primary siegesbeckia uses and indications include rheumatism, weak bones and tendons, weakness and pain in the low back and knees, quadriplegia, paraplegia, rubella, and eczema. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 12 grams in decoction. And it is still available in the forms of siegesbeckia orientalis extract, cream, tea, and so on.

1) Xi Xian San from Huo Ren Fang Hui Bian (Collection of Life-saving Prescriptions). It is made into honey pills through complicated process to treat numbness in limbs, waist and knee pain, and more due to pathogenic wind, cold, and dampness;

2) Xi Tong Wan from Yang Sheng Jing Yan He Ji (The Compilation of Regimen). It is coupled with Folium Clerodendri Trichotomi to cure sore feet or hands;

3) Huo Song Wan from Shi Yi De Xiao Fang (Effective Formulas from Generations of Physicians). It is used alone to heal diarrhea due to wind running in the stomach;

4) Shou Wu Yan Shou Dan from Shi Bu Zhai Yi Shu (Medical Works of the Shibu Studio). It is combined with He Shou Wu (Polygonum Multiflorum), Nu Zhen Zi (Chinese Privet), Han Lian Cao (Eclipta Alba), Tu Si Zi (Dodder Seed), Du Zhong (Eucommia Bark), etc. to treat Yin-blood deficiency induced weak lower back and knees, dizziness, dim eyesight, tinnitus, insomnia, and premature graying.

Siegesbeckia side effects and contraindications

Siegesbeckia herb is non-toxic and causes no apparent discomfort if it is taken orally in the conventional dose of decoction. But overdose may lead to adverse reactions like nausea and loose stool. Li Shizhen pointed out that the alleged small toxicity was referred to as the gastrointestinal discomfort caused by overdose. So, when it is used in high doses, other stomach-harmonizing herbs should be added in in order to reduce stomach discomfort. TCM wise, it shouldn’t be taken by patients who are diagnosed with deficiency of blood and Yin.

20 thoughts on “Siegesbeckia (Xi Xian Cao)

  1. D Lyndley

    I think Siegesbeckia would be a good remedy for my aches and pains, I have sciatica, lower back pain and also pain in the middle back on my rib cage as I now have a condition called costocondritis. I need a healthy plant remedy to deal with aching bones, joints and muscles. If you think that this would be a good remedy so that I don’t have to take daily painkillers which affect my stomach, please let me know where I can purchase Siegesbeckia for pain.

    1. admin Post author

      Sorry but Siegesbeckia can’t be used to replace the painkillers. When it comes to ease pain in the low back and knees, personally I think this herb should be used and combined with other herbs according to TCM theory.

      1. Marisa Kuhn

        How do the chinese use this plant with regard to rheumatic arthritis? Is there a made product perhaps purchable anywhere? Is this plant in South Africa, more in particular the Western Cape?

    2. Found this on the amazon page for serrapeptase, interested but...

      Have you tried Serrapeptase? Try that for your aches and pains.

    3. Dani

      Restornex (Die Shang Wan) tea pills can be used to replace pain killers.
      I have used used it after a major car crash with broken bones and pain.
      I gave it to my friends for sciatica, arthiritis, etc. It works within 20 min
      taking it. You can’t overdose on it. You can take as many as you need
      for your pain. In time, it actually fixes the condition that causes the pain.
      I know this from personal experience. The dose is 10 pills, 3 times per
      day, but you can take a lot more if needed. God bless! 🙂

  2. Jenny

    Suggested to see acupuncturist to help pain relief.
    Suggest to sha trial on acupuncture and moxa to see if can move away the block of fallopoan tube. You can ask practitioner to suggest herb according to your pulse diagnosis. Within 2 months no successful, please see surgeon hope can get fertilised egg out to help you pregnant. Good luck

  3. Foxxii

    I was reading on this herb and another called mother wort
    to help open blocked fallopian tubes, but this herb has anti-pregnancy effects so I am confused as to why so many women are using these two teas for fertility?? They are sold on Amazon together xi xan cao and yi mu cao. Many women swear by both herbs for fertility.

  4. Katy Carmichael

    I used this herb in the recommended way for joint pain – 500mg twice a day – and it did improve my joints but I had terrible wind and felt nauseous while I was taking it. Is there something I can take to counteract these effects but maintain the benefits?

  5. Malesh

    I think the way to take this to specifically treat blocked fallopian tubes is to take it from day of period till day of ovulation then stop it. Its better now because its available in pill(capsules) form.
    I have found that translation of both herbs in English are Motherswort and St johns wort.
    st johns is mostly used to treat depression and anxiety and cannot be taken over a long period of time. St johns can make u sleep better but if taken in high doses can effect bad dreams.

  6. elaine loperena

    I am having no luck finding Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract online to buy. I have looked at Amazon and do not see it there. Would you know of an online store that carries it? Thanks so much! 🙂

  7. Prince Dr David H M J Mawanda

    According to the Doctrine of signatures siegsbeckia orientalis is locally in Luganda a tribe in Uganda the plant is known as Sseziwundu the interpretation being it is for wounds.


    It is really helping my sciatica and psoriatic arthritis. However my ankle and feet have started swelling, could this be the cause?


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