5 Health Benefits of Water Pepper – Ben Cao Medical Book

1. Description:

Water pepper (scientific name: Persicaria hydropiper, syn. Polygonum hydropiper, also known as marshpepper knotweed, Chinese Pinyin: Shui Liao, Simplified Chinese: 水蓼, 辣蓼, 蔷, 虞蓼, 蔷蓼, 蔷虞, 泽蓼, 辛菜, 蓼芽菜, 辣蓼), is a species of annual flowering herbaceous plant in genus Persicaria (Polygonaceae family). Found in damp places and shallow water in Australia, New Zealand, temperate Asia, Europe, and North America, the plant can grow up to 70 cm tall. The stem and leaves of water pepper are used as stasis-eliminating drug, hemostatic, antidiarrheal and carminative in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as rheumatism.

2. Odour, Properties And Channels:

Water pepper is considered to have pungent, bitter and neutral properties and to be associated with the spleen, stomach and large intestine meridians.

3. Uses, Health Benefits of Water Pepper & Medical Formulas:

3.1 Blood Pressure

The essential oil contained in water pepper can help expand the blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

3.2 Enteritis

A decoction of water pepper can be used in treating enteritis (taken for a consecutive period of 3 days).

3.3 Anorexia

A decoction of water pepper and malt is taken orally to treat infant anorexia.

3.4 Rheumatism

A decoction of water pepper (15g), radix clematidis and cassia twig is taken orally to relieve pain that comes with rheumatism.

3.5 Sore Throat

Juice of fresh water pepper flower mixed with sugar is taken orally to treat swollen sore throat.


The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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