English Name: plantago seed, asiatic plantain seed
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Plantaginis
Medica Category: Water-Regulating and Damp-Resolving Herbs
Properties: Che Qian Zi enters Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Liver, and Lung channels; it is sweet in nature and cold in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Che Qian Zi is the seeds from the Asiatic plantain (Plantago asiatica L.) or the depressed plantain (Plantago depressa Willd), plants which grow throughout China, Japan and the rest of East Asia, thriving equally in disturbed areas as well as undisturbed woodlands and fields. Its seeds are gathered in the summer and autumn when ripe and then either dry-fried or fried with salt water (to direct the actions of this herb to the Kidney/lower jiao) for use as medicine.
Che Qian Zi clears heat and resolves dampness from the lower jiao to treat edema and lin zheng (dysuria syndrome) with heat; clinically this may manifest as pain/burning sensations when urinating, urgency to urinate without being able to go (i.e. difficulty initiating a stream), and dribbling urination with pain and swelling. Che Qian Zi also adds to this mix anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which make it a particularly effective herb as addressing lin zheng from damp-heat accumulation (see the formula Ba Zheng San).
Che Qian Zi promotes urination to resolve accumulated dampness in the intestines and stop diarrhea/loose stools.
Che Qian Zi clears Liver heat to resolve headaches and eye problems associated with Liver Yang rising.
Che Qian Zi clears heat from the Lung and dissolves phlegm to address cough with thick, yellow production.
**safety note—this herb has a diuretic effect and should be used with caution/under supervision of a trained TCM practitioner when combined with pharmaceutical medications that have diuretic effects (such as chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), and torsemide (Demadex)) to avoid potentially excessive loss of fluids and/or electrolytes.
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