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Herbs & Botanicals

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Eclipta (han lian cao)

What is eclipta? What is it used for?

Eclipta is an annual herb that is hardy and non-invasive. The plant grows to approximately two feet in height, with a thin, wooden stem, dark green leaves and small white flowers. The aerial parts of the plant, such as the leaves, flowers and upper stems, are used medicinally.

Eclipta is used for a variety of purposes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when applied to the scalp, an extract of fresh eclipta can promote hair growth. Other known uses are for blurry vision, headaches, dizziness and premature gray hair. It can be applied topically to treat nosebleeds and bleeding caused by traumatic injury. Compounds found in eclipta suggest that it has anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used in the fight against liver disease.

In traditional Chinese medicine, eclipta is considered a yin-nourishing herb, specifically, as a tonic for liver and kidney yin. In addition, it clears deficiency heat and cools the blood. It is often used in combination with ligustrum and lycium to boost the immune system.

How much eclipta should I take?

The general recommended dose of eclipta 10-15 grams, but this amount varies on the condition being treated.

What forms of eclipta are available?

Fresh and dried eclipta leaves and stems are available at some specialty stores. Some stores also sell water-based eclipta extracts. Leaves may also be ground into a poultice and applied directly to the skin

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

The American Herbal Products Association has stated that eclipta can be safely consumed when Eclipta should not be taken by patients who have acute or chronic diarrhea, or patients who have deficient cold in the spleen. There are no known drug interactions with eclipta. As always, make sure to consult with a qualified health care practitioner before taking eclipta or any other herbal product or dietary supplement.

References

  • Gupta SC, Bajaj UK, Sharma VN. Cardiovascular effects of eclipta alba. J Res Ind Med Yoga & Homeop 1976;11:3, 91-93.
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. (eds.) American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, p. 44.
  • Saxena AK, Singh B, Anand KK. Hepatoprotective effects of eclipta alba on subcellular levels in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1993 Dec;40(3):155-61.
  • Wagner H, et al. Coumestans as the main active principles of the liver drugs eclipta alba and wedelia calendulacea." Planta Med Oct 1986;(5):370-4.
  • Xu ZL. Pocket Handbook of Chinese Herbal Medicine. Miami: Waclion International, 2000, p. 106.

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