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Siegesbeckia (Xi Xian Cao)

What is siegesbeckia? What is it used for?

Siegesbeckia is a small shrub native to eastern Asia, which grows particularly well in hot climates. 

It usually consists of a large, greenish stem, from which shoot off green, oval- or triangular-shaped leaves; the top of the plant contains small, yellow flowers covered with sticky hairs.  Its leaves exude a sap-like secretion, which contains a crystalline compound similar to aspirin.  Both the aerial parts and the sap are used in herbal preparations.

In traditional Chinese medicine, siegesbeckia is considered to have bitter and cold properties, and affects the Liver and Kidney meridians.  Its main functions are to clear heat and release toxins, to strengthen the sinews, and to dispel wind and dampness.  The sap is used externally to treat rheumatic pains and skin conditions such as boils and eczema.  Internally, siegesbeckia is used as a sedative and (with other herbs) to treat hypertension.

How much siegesbeckia should I take?

The typical dosage of siegesbeckia is between 6 and 15 grams, depending on the condition being treated.  Make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider as to the proper dosage.

What forms of siegesbeckia are available?

Dried, cut pieces of siegesbeckia stems and leaves are available at most herbal pharmacies and Asian markets.  Siegesbeckia extracts are also available.

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

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with siegesbeckia.  However, it should not be used in patients who have been diagnosed with deficient blood syndromes.  As always, make sure to consult with a trained health care professional before taking siegesbeckia or any other herb or dietary supplement.


  • Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Penguin 1984; ISBN # 0-14-046-440-9.
  • Kim MH, Lee JH, Won JH, et al. Inhibitory effect on immunoglobulin E production in vivo and in vitro by siegesbeckia glabrescens. Phytother Res Nov 2001;15(7):572-6.
  • Guo DA, Zhang ZG, Ye GQ, et al. Studies on liposoluble constituents from the aerial parts of siegesbeckia orientalis L. Yao Xue Xue Bao Apr 1997;32(4):282-5. Chinese.
  • Hwang WJ, Park EJ, Jang CH, et al. Inhibitory effect of immunoglobulin E production by jin-deuk-chal (siegesbeckia orientalis). Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol Nov 2001;23(4):555-63.
  • Ohwi G. Flora of Japan. Smithsonian Institution, 1965.
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