Yin Chai Hu (Radix Stellariae or Starwort Root)

Yin Chai Hu also known as Radix Stellariae, Stellaria Root, or Starwort Root is the root of Stellaria dichotoma, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Caryophyllaceae. It first appeared in <Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi> (a supplement to the compendium of materia medica) in the 30th year of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1,765 AD).

This plant likes light and is cold and drought tolerant. It often grows on hillsides or grasslands at an altitude of 1,250-3,100 meters. It can be found in northern China, Mongolia, and Russia.

In the late spring and early summer when the buds of Stellaria dichotoma are sprouting or the late autumn when the plant is withering, people gather their roots, remove their impurities and fibrous roots, wash them with water, dry them in the sun, cut them into thick slices, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Yin Chai Hu contains α-spinasterol glucoside, stigmaster-7-enol glucoside, ergostenol-7-glucoside, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, α-spinasterol, stigmaster-7-enol, cyclotides, alkaloids, flavonoids, vanillic acid, 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic acid, dihydroferulic acid, 2,3,8-tri-o-methylellagic acid, volatile oils.

Generally, Yin Chai Hu with a yellowish-white and lustrous surface and the root head looking like a string of pearls is the best.

According to <Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi>, the medicinal property of Yin Chai Hu is slightly cold, with a sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of liver and stomach meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Yin Chai Hu is used to clear asthenic fever and cool blood, treat infantile malnutrition with fever, consumptive fever, hot flashes, night sweats, malaria, and allergic diseases. It is an important component of Wu Ji Bai Feng Wan.

Health benefits of Yin Chai Hu

  • Anti-allergy, anti-oxidation, anti-virus, and anti-cancer.
  • Inhibiting the ankle joint swelling induced by ankle gum in mice.
  • Reducing the mortality of mice infected with Mycobacterium abscessus.
  • Inhibiting sperm viability and reducing sperm survival rate.
  • Inhibiting norepinephrine-induced aortic vasoconstriction, and relaxing the aortic vessels.
  • Reducing serum cholesterol and aortic lipid content, and preventing atherosclerosis.
  • Clearing asthenic fever, treating consumptive fever, hot flashes, night sweats, fever caused by yin deficiency.
  • Alleviate fever, abdominal distension, thirst with emaciation, and dry hair caused by indigestion or parasitic malnutrition.

Yin Chai Hu is used with other Chinese herbs

Side effects of Yin Chai Hu

Yin Chai Hu has been used clinically for many years, with few side effects.

Individual patients taking it may cause gastrointestinal reactions such as nausea and vomiting.

Precautions of Yin Chai Hu

  • The dosage of Yin Chai Hu should be controlled between 3-9g.
  • It can be made into decoction, pills, or powders.
  • People with wind-cold should not take it.
  • People with blood deficiency and no fever should not take it.