English Name: St. John’s wort
Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Hypercium
Medica Category: Heat-Clearing and Toxin-Eliminating Herbs
Properties: Guan Ye Lian Qiao enters the Liver channel; it is bitter, acrid, and astringent in nature and neutral in temperature.
Guan Ye Lian Qiao is the Chinese Herb commonly known as St John’s Wort. The dried aerial parts of the plant (Hypercium perforatum) are used for medicine. Best known as the “main herb for depression” in the West, its uses differ in TCM (see the section below).
Guan Ye Lian Qiao clears heat and eliminates toxins and is used to reduce swelling and inflammation in carbuncles, sores, and other skin conditions. It is used for this action to treat snakebite as well.
Guan Ye Lian Qiao dispels wind and dampness from the exterior to treat muscle aches and pains in the exterior level (i.e. those aches and pains that accompany a viral attack or those that come when the weather gets cold and damp).
Guan Ye Lian Qiao regulates Liver qi and in this regard can be used either singly (or added to the formula Yue Ju Wan (Escape Restraint Pill)) to treat depression (n.b. that this is a long way from the idea that one simply takes St John’s Wort “for depression”).