English Name: vaccaria seed, cow-herb seed, cow soapwort seed
Literal Translation: “king who does not stay but departs”
Pharmaceutical Name: Semen Vaccariae
Medica Category: Blood-Invigorating and Stasis-Removing Herbs
Properties: Wang Bu Liu Xing enters the Liver and Stomach channels; it is bitter in nature and neutral in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Wang Bu Liu Xing is the dried seeds of vaccaria (aka cowherb or cow soapwort—Vaccaria hispanica; syn. Vaccaria segetalis (neck.) Garcke.). This plant is an annual herb native to Eurasia (but now naturalized throughout the Northern hemisphere in temperate regions/climes) that blooms with small pink and white flowers. The plant is harvested toward the end of the summer and dried in the sun. The seeds are then taken from the dried plants, removed from their shells, crushed, and dry-fried in preparation for use as medicine.
Wang Bu Liu Xing activates blood circulation and clears channels and collaterals of stagnation to address amenorrhea and dysregulated menses (with associated pain) that have blood stasis at their root. This herb also addresses bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome) that manifests as arthritis/pain and swelling in the joints.
Wang Bu Liu Xing enters the channels and has a dispersing action which can used clinically to address insufficient lactation caused by qi and/or blood deficiency and/or emotional disturbances (i.e. Liver qi stagnation). It is also useful in addressing breast swelling and abscesses.
Wang Bu Liu Xing stimulates contractions of the uterus and is thus contraindicated during pregnancy.