Szechuan Lovage, Chuan Xiong, 川芎, Ligusticum striatum

Disclaimer    For educational purposes only.  Do not use as medical advice

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Health Benefits
For: Rheumatism • Postpartum stasis • Uterus prolapse after childbirth • Headache • Joint pain • Irregular menstruation • Angina • Cerebral thrombosis • Cerebral embolism • Stroke
Attributes: AnticoagulantAntiplatelet • Analgesic • Antitussive • Anti-inflammatory • Hypotensive • Sedative
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Ligustilide • Cnidium • Chuanxingol • Phthalide • Sekyunolide • Biphthalides • Wallichilide • Daphnetin • Camphene • Myrcene • Beta Selinene • Anhyride • Cadenine • Choline • Trimethlamine • Vanilin • Vitamin A • Folic Acid • Linalool • Carvacrol

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Fun Facts
  • Other Names: Ligusticum Chuanxiong • Ligusticum Wallichii Franch • Oreocome Striata • Selinum Striatum Benth • Cnidium • Chuan Qiong • Xiong Qiong
  • Plant Family: Apiaceae
  • If a search is done on the word "lovage", Google and Amazon will connect lovage with Levisticum officinale, which is a different genus from Chuan Xiong, but from the same family Apiaceae.  This plant is used like celery in Europe, particularly Germany, Romania, Hungary, and Poland.  

  • Chuan Xiong is deemed the best Qi regulating herbfor invigorating blood and for relieving headaches and normalizing menstruation.  
The genus Ligusticum has about 60 species.  The more notable ones in medicine are below:

Ligusticum porteri Video –  Osha root is famous for grizzley bear digging it up and rubbing it on their faces.  Respiratory antiviral herb.  Great for phlegm from influenza.  Breaks up chest congestion and inhibits viral growth.  Sinus infection, sinusitis.  Induces sweat and urination.  Leaves tastes like parsley and used as spice.  Leaves are antispasmodic.  Fresh root make a great cough syrup.

Ligusticum canadense (Boar Hog Root) Video -Grows on ridges. Western herb.  Strong aromatic root, similar to osha root.  Aphrodisiac. Popular greens for the Cherokee Indians.  

Ligusticum sinense – gaoben 藁本 Video 

Ligusticum jeholense

Ligusticum striatum - current blog

Ligusticum striatum is NOT in the USDA Plant Database.  

USA: Ligusticum striatum is not available in the wild

USDA Zones: 

Native: India, China

Habitats: Shady areas, forests,  elevations 1500--3700 meters

Properties, Actions, Indications, etc.              Category: Invigorate Blood 
English: Szechuan Lovage    Pinyin:  Chuan Xiong      Pharmaceutical: Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong  
Organs: Liver • Gallbladder • Pericardium      Temperature: Warm 
Taste: Pungent        Toxicity:
Patterns: Blood stagnation • Externally contracted wind 
Actions:  Stop pain • Expel Wind • Invigorate blood • Moves qi
Indications: Headaches • Dysmenorrhea • Amenorrhea • Blood stagnation • Qi stagnation
Contraindications: Pregnancy • Blood thinners • Fire from yin deficiency • Dry tongue • Dry mouth • Fever • Profuse menstrual bleeding • Spleen deficiency • Poor appetite • Nausea • Vomiting • Unexplained sweating
Typical Dosage: 3g to 9g powder          Guidelines
Parts Used: Root          Substitutes:   
Other: Available as injections   
Combine With  Purpose
Xiang Fu Qi and blood stagnation 21
Dang Gui + Bai Shao + Xiang Fu + Chong Wei Zi Qi and blood stagnation leading to menstrual cramps, blood clots, and irregular periods.17
Ju Hua + Bai Jiang Can Wind heat headache21
Ju Hua + Shi Gao Wind heat headache17
Sheng Di Huang + Bai Shao +Dang Gui Blood deficiency headache21,22
Shu Di Huang + Bai Shao + Dang Gui + Ju Hua Blood deficiency headache17
Gui Zhi + Wu Zhu Yu + Mu Dan Pi + Dang Gui Dysmenorrhea with poor flow22
Hong Hua + Ze Lan Amenorrhea22
Du Huo + Hai Feng Teng Wind cold dampness pain21
Yi Mu Cao + Tao ren Postpartum blood stasis21
Formulas with Chuan Xiong
Ba Zhen Tang • Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang • Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San • Dang Gui Shao Yao San • Die Da Wan • Du Huo Ji Sheng TangFang Feng Tong Sheng San • Hai Zao Yu Hu Tang • Jiao ai Tang • Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang • Juan Bi Tang • Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang • Ren Shen Bai Du San • Sheng Hua Tang • Shi Quan Da Bu Tang • Si Wu Tang • Suan Zao Ren Tang • Wen Jing Tang • Wu Ji San • Xiao Xu Ming Tang • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang • Yue Ju Wan • Zai Zao San 
Variations for Chuan Xiong

Dry stir fried root • Chao Chuan Xiong • 炒川芎 • Sliced root stir fried at medium heat until light yellow.  Less harsh and better for people with blood or qi deficiency.21

Wine fried root • Jiu Chao Chuan Xiong • 炒川芎 • Fried root soaked with rice wine to strengthen the invigorating effect.21 

Be cautious with all medicine.
  • Daphnetin is a natural coumarin derivative and is found in Chuan Xiong.  Coumarin is a blood thinner made popular by the drug wafarin.  Do not use this herb with other anticoagulants.
Potential Drug Interactions

Herbal medicine may interact negatively with pharma drugs and other herbs.  Examples below:

Herbs: Antagonizes Shan Zhu Yu and Huang Qi • Counteracts Huang Lian • Incompatible with Li Lu.

Pharma Drugs:Blood thinner medication • Antiplatelet medication • Anticoagulant medication


Information in this post came from many sources, including class notes, practitioners, websites, webinars, books, magazines, and editor's personal experience.  While the original source often came from historical Chinese texts,  variations may result from the numerous English translations.   Always consult a doctor prior to using these drugs.  The information here is strictly for educational purposes. 

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