English Name: callicarp leaf
Literal Translation: “purple pearl”
Pharmaceutical Name: Folium Callicarpae
Medica Category: Stop-Bleeding Herbs
Properties: Zi Zhu enters the Liver, Lung, and Stomach channels; it is bitter and astringent in nature and cool in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Zi Zhu is the dried leaves from any number of species of callicarp (aka velvet leaf– Callicarpa pedunculata R. Br.; and several other species in the genus). This plant is a small to medium sized shrub that grows in forest margins and grasslands from Southeastern China and Taiwan down through warm-temperate and tropical areas of Southeast Asia and the Pacific region and blooms with little clusters of purple flowers that resemble pearls. In TCM, the leaves are picked, dried, and either ground into powder or decocted for use as medicine.
Zi Zhu has an astringent nature and is an herb of choice for bleeding in the digestive and respiratory tracts (it is taken with warm water or made into tea for this purpose). Zi Zhu has also been made into an injectable form and a topical gauze as well. In Chinese hospitals it is often used to control bleeding during surgery. Other clinical applications include coughing/vomiting up blood, blood in the stools/urine, uterine bleeding, hematochezia, and bleeding from trauma.
Zi Zhu eliminates toxins and is used topically to treat toxic sores (e.g. treating toxic sores and carbuncles and preventing infection in oozing first and second degree burns).