Gu Jing Cao is also known as Pipewort or Eriocaulon Buergerianum, which is an annual herb belonging to the family Eriocaulaceae. It initially appeared in <Kaibao Bencao> (Materia Medica of the Kaibao Period) around 974 AD.
Eriocaulon is a large genus with about 400 species, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They often grow in wet places such as ponds, creeks, and paddy fields. Among them, the more common and economically valuable is Eriocaulon Buergerianum, which is distributed in China and Japan.
In the autumn of each year, people gather the flower heads with a stalk of Eriocaulon Buergerianum, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, cut them into segments, and make them into Chinese herbs.
It contains alkaloids, phenolic components, organic acids, flavones, glycosides, volatile oils, phytosterols, tannins, etc. Gu Jing Cao with grayish-white flower head and yellowish-green stalk is the best.
According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Gu Jing Cao is relatively mild, with a pungent and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of liver and lung meridians.
In Chinese medicine, Gu Jing Cao is often used to clear heat and expel wind, improve eyesight, relieve eye diseases, headaches, and toothaches caused by wind-heat.
Health benefits of Gu Jing Cao
- Scavenging hydroxyl free radicals and anti-oxidation.
- Inhibiting α-glucosidase and preventing diabetes.
- Inhibiting the nerve injury caused by 6-OHDA and having a mutagenic effect.
- Inhibiting the growth of human lung adenocarcinoma cell A549, human breast cancer cell MCF-7 and human cervical cancer HeLa cell.
- Clearing liver heat and relieving redness and swelling of the eyes caused by the up-flaming of liver fire.
- Relieving redness and swelling of the eyes, photophobia, and nebulae caused by wind-heat.
- Treating laryngeal obstruction, epistaxis, conjunctivitis, night blindness, cataract, chorioretinitis, infantile malnutrition.
- Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, typhoid bacillus, Salmonella, Shigella flexneri, and Escherichia coli.
Gu Jing Cao is used with other Chinese herbs
- It with Jing Jie (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia), Jue Ming Zi (Cassia Seed), and Long Dan Cao (Radix Gentianae) can treat redness and swelling of the eyes, photophobia, and nebulae caused by wind-heat.
- It with Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae), Chi Shao (Radix Paeoniae Rubra), and Qing Xiang Zi (Semen Celosiae) can treat redness and swelling of the eyes caused by the up-flaming of liver fire.
- It with Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi), Sang Ye (Mulberry Leaf) and Jing Jie (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) can treat headaches caused by wind-heat.
- It with Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae), Shi Gao (Gypsum), and Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae) can alleviate the toothache caused by wind-heat.
Side effects of Gu Jing Cao
Gu Jing Cao has been used clinically for many years, with almost no side effects. A small number of people taking it may cause allergic reactions, such as systemic itching.
Precautions of Gu Jing Cao
- The dosage of Gu Jing Cao should be controlled between 5-10g.
- It can be made into decoction, pills or eye drops.
- It is not recommended to use iron utensils to boil it.
- It should not be used to treat eye diseases caused by blood deficiency.