What Is Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae)

Xia Ku Cao also known as Spica Prunellae is the spike of Prunella Vulgaris. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine with a medicinal history of over 2000 years.

Prunella Vulgaris is commonly known as Self-heal or Heal-all, which is a perennial herb of the family Lamiaceae. It is a common lawn weed, and all parts of it can be made into medicine.

This plant likes warm and humid environments, which are more common in wet grass. It is found throughout most countries in the northern hemisphere, and it has now been transplanted by New Zealand and parts of South America.

In summer each year, people pick the brown-red spikes of Prunella Vulgaris, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Xia Ku Cao contains triterpenoid saponin, rutin, hyperoside, ursolic acid, caffeic acid, free oleanolic acid, prunella polysaccharide, delphinidin, cyanidin, d-camphor, d-fenchone, alkaloids, tannins, volatile oils.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Xia Ku Cao is relatively cold, with a pungent and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver and gallbladder meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Xia Ku Cao is often used to clear heat and reduce fire, improve vision, relieve swelling and pain, treat high blood pressure, goiter, lymphadenopathy, and breast hyperplasia.

About 200 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions contain Xia Ku Cao, such as Xia Sang Ju, Nei Xiao Luo Li Pian, Jiang Ya Pian.

Health benefits of Xia Ku Cao

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-pathogen and immunosuppression.
  • Stimulating the uterus and enhancing intestinal peristalsis.
  • Lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, antagonizing arrhythmia.
  • Relieving dizziness and headache caused by hyperactivity of liver-yang.
  • Clearing heat and damp to preventing heat stroke.
  • Clearing liver fire, alleviating redness and swelling of the eyes, dizziness, and headache caused by the up-flaming of liver fire.
  • Nourishing liver yin and treating eye pain at night caused by insufficient liver yin.
  • Treating scrofula caused by the transformation of liver depression into fire or the coagulation of phlegm-fire.
  • Removing nodules and relieving swelling, treating goiter, swollen lymph nodes, and breast hyperplasia.
  • Inhibiting dysentery bacilli, typhoid bacilli, cholera bacilli, E. coli, proteusbacillus vulgaris, staphylococcus, human tuberculosis bacilli.
  • The study confirmed that it can inhibit HIV and the herpes simplex virus type 1.

Xia Ku Cao is used with other Chinese herbs

  • It with Kun Bu (Kombu) and Xuan Shen (Radix Scrophulariae) can treat thyroid tumors.
  • It with Sang Ye (Mulberry Leaf), Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi), and Jue Ming Zi (Cassia Seed) can alleviate redness and swelling of the eyes, dizziness, and headache caused by the up-flaming of liver fire.
  • It with Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) and Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) can nourish liver yin and relieve eye pain at night.
  • It with Pu Gong Ying (Dandelion), Gua Lou (Fructus Trichosanthis), and Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae) to treat acute mastitis, sores and skin ulcers caused by heat toxins.
  • It with Bai Mao Cen (Rhizoma Imperatae), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Ban Lan Gen (Radix Isatidis), Shan Dou Gen (Radix Sophorae Tonkinensis), and Bai Hua She She Cao (Hedyotis diffusa) to treat chronic hepatitis B.

Side effects of Xia Ku Cao

Xia Ku Cao is edible with almost no side effects. Taking it in large doses for a long time may cause the immune function of the body to be suppressed.

A small number of people may cause allergic reactions such as pimples, erythema, pruritus, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, palpitations, and conjunctival congestion.

Precautions of Xia Ku Cao

  • The dosage of Xia Ku Cao should be controlled at 9-15g.
  • It can be made into decoction, pills, tea or ground into powder for external use.
  • When taking it for a long time, it is recommended to take Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsis) or Bai Zhu (Rhizoma
  • Atractylodis Macrocephalae) at the same time to invigorate the spleen and stomach.
  • People with weakness of spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with qi or yang deficiency should not take it.
  • People with anorexia or diarrhea should not take it.
  • Pregnant women and children should not take it.