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Lysimachia (jin qian cao)

What is lysimachia? What is it used for?

Lysimachia is a perennial, grassy herb that originated in Europe; its name is reportedly attributed to King Lysimachus of Sicily, who is believed to have discovered the herb's healing properties.

In addition to Europe, it now grows throughout the southern provinces of China, with large, spade-shaped green leaves and yellow flowers. The entire plant is harvested during the summer and autumn, cleaned, then dried in the sun. It can be used raw.

Lysimachia has sweet and neutral properties, and is associated with the Liver, Gallbladder, Kidney and Bladder meridians. It contains a variety of important chemical ingredients, including assorted phenols, flavones, sterols, tannins, cholines, and essential oils. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used for centuries. As an herbal remedy, lysimachia helps treat a variety of urinary disorders, ranging from painful urination and frequent urination to stones in the urinary tract. It is also used sometimes to treat jaundice, and may be applied externally to treat boils and skin infections. Lysimachia is often incorporated with lygodium and capejasmine as part of a larger herbal formula.

How much lysimachia should I take?

The typical dose of lysimachia is between 30 grams and 60 grams, depending on the condition being treated. If fresh lysimachia is being used, the amount of lysimachia being taken should be doubled. The herb may be boiled in water and drunk as a decoction, and may also be applied to the skin as a poultice or ointment.

What forms of lysimachia are available?

Whole, dried lysimachia can be found at many Asian markets and herbal shops. In addition, lysimachia may be obtained in various forms as a pill, capsule, tablet, decoction, and ointment.

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

Because lysimachia acts as a type of diuretic, long-term use may deplete the body of potassium and cause dizziness. In these instances, it is recommended that a patient take potassium supplements in addition to lysimachia. It should be used with caution in patients that have diarrhea.

Patients taking antidiuretic medications should speak with a health care provider before taking lysimachia or herbal formulas that contain lysimachia. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking lysimachia or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Chang HT, Kong WL, Tu PF. Chemical and pharmacological advances of study on lysimachia. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi April 2004;29(4):295-8.
  • Tian JK, Zou ZM, Xu LZ, et al. Studies on chemical constituents in herba of lysimachia davurica. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi April 2002;27(4):283-4.
  • Tian JK, Zou ZM, Xu LZ, et al. Two new triterpenoid saponins from lysimachia capillipes Hemsl. Yao Xue Xue Bao September 2004;39(9):722-5.
  • Xie C, Xu LZ, Luo XZ, et al. Flavonol glycosides from lysimachia capillipes. J Asian Nat Prod Res March 2002;4(1):17-23.
  • Zhang Z, Zhan Q. Studies on chemical constituents of lysimachia pentapetala. Zhong Yao Cai January 1999;22(1):28-9.
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