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Herbs & Botanicals

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Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)

What is pseudostellaria? What is it used for?

Pseudostellaria is the name given to a type of plant that is often mistaken for ginseng, and is sometimes called "prince's ginseng." It grows throughout most of central China, including the Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Hubei provinces.

Pseudostellaria roots are between two and four inches long, yellowish-white in appearance, and somewhat horn-shaped. The roots are used in herbal remedies, and contain a wealth of chemicals and essential elements, including copper, zinc, selenium, and more than a dozen amino acids.

Pseudostellaria has a sweet flavor and neutral properties, and is associated with the Spleen and Lung meridians. Its main functions are to supplement qi, strengthen the spleen, generate fluids and suppress coughs. It is also used to improve the functioning of the immune system. Pseudostellaria is especially effective in treating fatigue and lack of appetite.

How much pseudostellaria should I take?

The typical dose of pseudostellaria is between 10 and 30 grams, ground into a powder and steeped in hot water as a tea. Pseudostallaria can also be applied topically to reduce bleeding and promote wound healing.

What forms of pseudostellaria are available?

Dried, whole (or sliced) pseudostellaria root is available at finer herbal shops and some specialty food stores. Some companies also sell pseudostellaria powder. Traditionally, it is stored in a lime pot.

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

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions or side-effects associated with pseudostellaria. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking pseudostellaria or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Awang DVC. What in the name of panax are those other "ginsengs"? HerbalGram 2003;57:35.
  • Chen J, Weng W. Medicinal food: the Chinese perspective. J of Med Food 1998;1(2):117-122.
  • Collura JO. Ginseng: prince of tonics. Vegetarian Times March 1997.
  • Weng W, Chen J. The Eastern perspective on functional foods based on traditional Chinese medicine. Nutrition Reviews 1996;54(11):S11-S16.
  • Yang YB, Tan NH, Zhang F, et al. Cyclopeptides and amides from pseudostellaria heterophylla (caryophyllaceae). Helvetica Chimica Acta October 2003;86(10):3376-3379.

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