Zi Cao – Zi Cao Gen – Lithospermum or Arnebia Root – “Purple Herb”

Nature: sweet, cold

Enters: Heart, Liver

Actions: Clears heat; cools the blood; promotes blood circulation; promotes the expression of skin eruptions; eliminates toxicity; slight function to moisten the intestines and unblock the bowels; topically clears damp-heat from the skin.

• Skin eruptions due to a warm-heat pathogen, heat in the blood, or extreme heat and toxicity in the blood: early measles, chickenpox, eczema, carbuncles, boils, burns. Especially good for dark red or purple skin disorders.
• Heat in the blood: constipation.
• Topical: for damp-heat skin lesions, vaginal itching. Often used in ointment for burns, sores, etc.
• May inhibit ovulation.
• Antineoplastic effects.
• Doctrine of signatures: Its purple color conveys it ability to enter the blood and to treat purple skin eruptions.
JTCM: Its nature is mild. It cools the blood but is not harsh, it moves blood, but not recklessly. It promotes muscle regeneration, clears dampness, heals ulcers, kills parasites and fungus. It can prevent the growth of bacteria and also has anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes blood circulation, growth of the epithelium, and excretion of toxins. It treats allergic purpura due to heat in the blood.
• Treatment of chronic hepatitis B and liver stagnant-heat:
Zi cao treats liver stagnant-heat: dull complexion, liver or spleen enlargement, jaundice, stabbing pain in the liver area, low grade fever, restlessness, burning urination, constipation, bitter taste, dry mouth, dark red tongue with a sticky yellow coat, wiry pulse. This pattern includes chronic hepatitis B (its main pathology is stagnant damp-heat-toxicity). Experiments show the herb has activity against the hepatitis B virus. It also treats cirrhosis and ascites.
To treat chronic liver stagnant-heat, combine Zi cao with Mu dan pi, Chi shao, Shan zha, Hu zhang, Bai jiang cao, Ku shen, Chai hu, Yu jin, Yin chen hao. Add Huang qi and Tai zi shen if there is Qi deficiency. Add Nu zhen zi and Sheng di if there is Yin deficiency.
Zi cao oil for neurodermatitis:
Zi cao oil: Soak Zi cao in sesame oil (1 part herb : 2 parts oil) for 15 days. Strain the oil. Apply it to rashes 3-6 times/day.
Treats neurodermatitis (skin rash due to nervous system disorder, including with severe paroxysmal itchiness).
Zi cao for retinal phlebitis and other eye problems:
Zi Yun eye drops: Decoct 500g each of Zi cao and Dang gui for 15 minutes. Strain. For each liter of the fluid: Add 1kg Feng mi. Cook for another 10 minutes. Strain. Add 100g Bing pian and 3g She xiang.
Drop into the eyes three times daily.
Treats retinal phlebitis (including blindness caused by it), cataracts, bleeding of the eyes.
While applying the above eyedrops, give this formula internally:
Zi Lan Tui Yi Tang: Zi cao, Ban lan gen, Mu zei, Chan tui, Huang qi, Pao jia pian. In 30 days, the symptoms of 85% of patients are controlled. 95% of patients recover in 90 days.
Zi cao for festering otitis media:
Zi cao oil #2: soak 100g Zi cao in 1kg sesame oil. Cook over low heat until the Zi cao becomes charcoal colored.
Treats festering otitis media. To use, clear any pus from the ear with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply 3-4 drops of oil into the ear 4-5 times/day. Complete recovery usually takes 3-7 days.
Can be used for both acute and chronic ear conditions.
Zi cao for burns:
Zi Yun Gao: melt 150g beeswax. Add 30g each of Zi cao and Dang gui, and 500 mL sesame oil. Cook until the oil changes to a reddish-purple color. Strain, cool.
Apply to burns – especially first and second degree.
Zi cao for chronic ulcers:
Zi Cao Gao: soak Zi cao (30g), Dang gui (15g), and Chuan jiao (3g) in 300 mL sesame oil for 24 hours. Bring to a boil. Add Chuan shan jia (9g). Strain. Add 60g beeswax. Allow to cool.
Apply topically to chronic ulcers: Sterilize the surface of the ulcer. Apply Zi Cao Gao. Cover with gauze. Use a hot water bottle to warm it for 20 minutes, twice a day. Change the gauze once daily. Ulcers usually heal in 14 or fewer applications.
K&R: (L. officinalefruit, leaves, flowers) Diuretic, emmenagogue, inhibits pituitary gonadotropins [FSH and LH], TSH antagonist.
• Wood yang, fire yang, earth yang:
Wood: biliary dyskinesia, urinary and biliary calculi, hyper-folliculine dysmenorrhea, mastosis, mastitis, hot flashes, spastic colon.
Fire: excess pituitary hormone secretion, especially inhibits FSH and LH.
Earth: hyperfolliculine dysmenorrhea, PMS.
RW: (various Lithospermum species) Contraceptive: antigonadotropic, anovulatory actions. Like oral contraceptives, it blocks the gonadotropic hormones of the anterior pituitary. Only reliable after prolonged use. Still does not reach the almost total efficacy of the contraceptive pill. Taken as a daily infusion by American Indian women for a period of six months to ensure infertility.

Dose: 3-9g

6 comments on “Zi Cao – Zi Cao Gen – Lithospermum or Arnebia Root – “Purple Herb”

  1. Isabelle says:

    will this oil be good for anal fissures?

  2. Lyla says:

    Question, How effective is this against HPV, (Genital Warts?) and how should how should it be administered ?

    • Peter Borten says:

      I don’t know how effective it is. Sorry. I have not personally used it for HPV. I would advise you to see a local practitioner for this.

  3. Lani Jacobson says:

    where can I purchase this? raw? processed?

    • Peter Borten says:

      Sorry, I don’t deal with retailing herbs, but there are lots of online sources for Chinese herbs. That said, I wouldn’t recommend taking this – or any – herb without the perspective of a good diagnostician & the skill of a trained herbalist. Except in rare cases, treating anything significant enough to have brought you to Zi Cao usually requires a comprehensive herbal formula.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *