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Celosia Seed (qing xiang zi)

What is celosia seed? What is it used for?

Celosia seeds are small (between 1-5 millimeters) and round, with a black or reddish-black exterior and a thin, brittle outer skin. They come from Celosia argentea L., an annual flowering herb also known as the feather cockscomb.

The seeds are odorless and tasteless. They are traditionally harvested in the autumn when ripe, then dried in the sun for use.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, celosia seeds have sweet and cool properties, and are associated with the Liver meridian. Celosia seeds drain liver fire and clear wind. The main ingredient in celosia is celosiaol, a chemical that dilates the pupil of the eye. Celosia seeds are used to treat eye-related disorders, such as impaired vision, blurred vision, nebula (a white spot or opacity of the cornea), and red and painful eyes; some practitioners use the seeds to treat hypertension. Celosia seeds are often combined with cassia seeds and buddleia flower.

How much celosia seed should I take?

The typical dosage of celosia seed is between three and 15 grams, decocted in water for drinking or as a tea.

What forms of celosia seed are available?

Whole, dried celosia seeds can be found at many Asian markets and specialty stores. Powdered celosia seeds, and celosia seed decoctions and teas, can also be found at some herbal shops.

What can happen if I take too much celosia seed? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Celosiaol has a mydriatic effect on the eye; in other words, it causes the pupil of the eye to dilate excessively. As a result, it should not be taken by anyone diagnosed with glaucoma, or any patients taking medications to treat glaucoma. In addition, it should never be used by patients suffering from liver and kidney deficiency. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking celosia seed or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Dharmananda S. Treatments for thyroid diseases with Chinese herbal medicine. Available online.
  • Hase K, et al. Immunostimulating activity of celosian, an antihepatotoxic polysaccharide isolated from celosia argentea. Planta Med June 1997;63(3):216-9.
  • Hayakawa Y, et al. Anti-metastatic and immunomodulating properties of the water extract from celosia argentea seeds. Biol Pharm Bull November 1998;21(11):1154-9.
  • Huxley A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. London: MacMillan Press, 1992. ISBN # 0-333-47494-5.
  • Kamei A et al. The effect of celosian, a water extract from Celosia argentea L., on NK activity in rats with galactosamine/LPS-induced acute hepatic injury. Journal of Traditional Medicines 1998;15:3, 161-167:31.

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