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Chuān Xiōng 川芎

Pharmaceutical name Chuanxiong Rhizoma Szechuan lovage root, cnidium
Category Invigorate Blood
Key Properties Invigorate Blood, Promote movement of Qi, Expels wind, Stops pain (especially useful for Headache)
Properties Acrid
Tropism LV, GB, PC
Actions & Indications 1) Invigorate Blood & Promote Movement of Qi (any Blood disorder pattern)
2) Expels Wind & Alleviates Pain (especially Headache, Tropism: head, LV, GB)
Dosages 3-9 (12-15)g; when taken as a powder, 1-1.5g per dose
Contraindications (TCM) Yin Def Fire, red tongue, dry mouth
Caution with hypermenorrhea due to strong function to activate Qi and Blood circulation
Contraindications (Western)
Chemical Composition Alkaloids ( chuanxiongzine, tetramethylprazine, L-isoleucine- L-valine anhydride, L-valine-L-valine anhydride, trimethylamine, choline, perlolyrine, cnidiumlactone, chuanxingol, 4-hydroxy-3-butyl-phathalide, ligustilide, neocnidilide ); organic acids (ferulic acid, sedanonic acid, folic acid, vanillic, caffeic acid, protocatechuic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid, chrysophanol, methyl phenylacetate, sedanoic acid lactone, methyl pentadecanoate); essential oils (ethyl pentadecanoate, ethyl palmitate, ethyl heptadecanoate, ethyl isoheptadecanoate, ethyl octadecanoate, ethyl isoctadecanoate, methyl palmitate, methyl linolenate)
Pharmacological Effects • Cardiovascular: dilates blood vessels to lower blood pressure, increases blood perfusion to coronary arteries, and decreases oxygen consumption by cardiac muscle; effect on cardiovascular system varies depending on dosage given, as demonstrated in frog studies; at 20 to 30 g/kg via oral route, there is positive inotropic and negative chronotropic effect on heart; at 40 g/kg, heart may exert little or no contraction
• Antiplatelet and anticoagulant: demonstrated marked antiplatelet and anticoagulant effects in various animal studies
• Circulatory: associated with increased blood perfusion to and reduced swelling of brain, and is commonly used to treat disorders such as cerebral ischemia, Alzheimer's disease, and migraine headache
• Sedative: oral administration of decoction to mice and rats has sedative effect on CNS, as it decreases motor activities, prolongs phenobarbital-induced sleeping time, and counteracts stimulating effects produced by caffeine;
• Effects on smooth muscle: marked influences on smooth muscle of uterus and intestines; at small dosages, leads to mild contraction and/or spasms of smooth muscle; at large dosages, causes numbness and inhibits contraction of smooth muscle; subcutaneous administration of 20% injection at 4 ml/100g may cause fatality of fetus in pregnant mice or rabbits, presumably due to severe contraction of the muscles shutting off blood circulation
• Protective effect against radiation: intramuscular, oral and intraperitoneal administration have all been associated with protective effect against radiation in dogs, mice and rats
Herb-Drug Interactions • Anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs: herb has antiplatelet action, should be used with caution in patients who take anticoagulant or antiplatelet med ications; may potentiate effect of drugs such as warfarin
Classical Formula(s)

Yue Ju Wan (Escape Restraint Pill) 越鞠丸

Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang (Tonify the Yang to Restore Five [-Tenths] Decoction 補陽還五湯 (补阳还五汤)

Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San Ligusticum Chuanxiong Powder to be Taken with Gree 川芎茶調散 (川芎茶调散)

Da Qin Jiao Tang (Major Large Gentian Decoction) 大秦艽湯

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang (Angelica Pubescens and Sang-Ji-Sheng Decoction)獨活寄生湯

Guo Qi Yin (Delayed Menstruation Decoction) 過期飲

Jiao Ai Tang (Ass-Hide Gelatin and Mugwort Decoction) 膠艾湯

Jing Jie Lian Qiao Tang (Schizonepeta and Forsythia Decoction) 荊芥連翹湯

Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang (Nine-Herb Decoction with Notopterygium) 九味羌活湯

Qian Jin Nei Tuo San (Powder to Support the Interior Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces) 千金内托散

Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang Notopterygium Decoction to Overcome Dampness 羌活勝濕湯 (羌活胜湿汤)

Ren Shen Bai Du San (Gingseng Powder to Over come Pathogenic Influences) 人參敗毒散

Shang Zhong Xia Tong Yong Tong Feng Wan (Pill to Treat Painful Wind Anywhere) 上中下通用痛風丸

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Drive Out Stasis from the Lower Abdomen Decoction) 少腹逐瘀湯

Sheng Hua Tang (Generating & Transforming Decoction) 生化湯 (生化汤)

Shi Shen Tang (Ten-Miracle Decoction) 十神湯

Shi Wei Bai Du San (Ten-Ingredient Powder to Overcome Toxicity) (deleted ying pi) 十味敗毒散 (減櫻皮)

Shu Gan Tang (Dredge the Liver Decoction) 疏肝湯

Suan Zao Ren Tang (Sour Jujube Decoction) 酸棗仁湯 (酸枣仁汤)

Tai shan pan shi san (Taishan bedrock powder) 泰山盤石散 (泰山盘石散)

Tuo Li Xiao Du Yin (Support the Interior and Eliminate Toxin Drink) 托裡消毒飲

Wen Jing Tang (Flow-Warming Decoction) 溫經湯

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Drive Out Stasis from the Mansion of Blood Decoction) 血府逐瘀湯

Ba Wei Dai Xia Fang (Eight-Ingredient Formula for Vaginal Discharge) 八味帶下方

Ba Zhen Tang (Eight-Treasure decoction) 八珍湯

Ba Zhen Yi Mu Wan (Eight Treasure Pill to Benefit Mothers) 八珍益母丸

Bao Chan Wu You Fang (Worry-Free Formula to Protect Birth) 保產無憂方

Chai Hu Shu Gan San (Bupleurum Powder to Dredge the Liver) 柴胡疏肝散

Dang Gui Shao Yao San (Tangkuei and Peony Powder) 當歸芍藥散

Fang Feng Tong Sheng San (Saposhnikovia powder that sagely unblocks) 防風通聖散

Hai Zao Yu Hu Tang (Sargassum decoction for the Jade Flask) 海藻玉壺湯

Jia Wei Xiang Su San (Augmented Cyperus and Perilla Leaf Powder) 加味香蘇散

Juan Bi Tang (Remove Painful Obstruction Decoction) 蠲痺湯

Shi Liu Wei Liu Qi Yin (Sixteen Ingredient Drink for Qi Flow) 十六味流氣飲

Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (All-inclusive great tonifying decoction) 十全大補湯 (十全大补汤)

Wu Ji San (Five-accumula-tion powder) 五积散

Xiao Xu Ming Tang (Minor Prolong Life Decoction) 小續命湯

Zai Zao San (Renewal Powder) 再造散

Ai Fu Nuan Gong Wan (Mugwort and Cyperus Pill to Warm the Palace) 艾附暖宮丸

Si Wu Tang (Four-substance decoction) 四物湯


This information is a reference tool for Chinese herbal studies. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult a primary health professional if you require health advisory.