Salvia Chinensis As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Salvia chinensis is an annual plant that is native to several provinces in China, growing in forests, and in tufts of grass on hillsides or plains at 100 to 500 m (330 to 1,640 ft) elevation. The plan is a major herb in traditional Chinese medicine (where it is known as Zi Shen (紫参) with heat-clearing and detoxifying effect. As per modern medical science, active ingredients of salvia chinensis include sterols, triterpenes, amino acids, protocatechuic aldehyde and stachyose.

Odour & Nature:

Bitter, astringent, non-toxic,


Salvia chinensis functions by influencing the liver.

Indications & Formulas:

A decoction of salvia chinensis root and licorice root can be used in treating dysentery (diarrhea with viscid red or white grains).

Powdered salvia chinensis root, ginseng and donkey-hide gelatin can be taken with syrup of plum to cope with hematemesis.

Pills made with salvia chinensis root, salvia miltiorrhiza root, ginseng, sophora root, adenophora root and walnut kernel can be taken with tea to relieve whelk on face.

Salvia chinensis root can also be prescribed with other herbs (such as sculellaria barbata and oldenlandia diffusa) in treating various cancers (such as esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer).

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 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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