Lu Han Cao – Pyrola – Herba Pyrolae

Lu Han Cao

English Name: (round-leaf) pyrola, Asian wintergreen

Alternate Pinyin Name: Lu Xian Cao

Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Pyrolae

Medica Category: Wind Damp Dispelling Herbs – Tendon and Bone Strengthening Herbs

Properties: Lu Han Cao enters the Liver and Kidney channels; it is sweet and bitter in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Lu Han Cao?:

The Chinese Herb Lu Han Cao is dried round-leaf pyrola (or Asian wintergreen—Pyrola rotundifolia L.; P. calliantha), a wildflower in the heather family that is native to Europe, Asia and Russia. It grows about a foot tall and blooms May through August with bell-shaped racemes of white flowers. It is native to alkaline wet sites of bogs, fens and woods.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Lu Han Cao:

Lu Han Cao dispels wind-dampness and strengthens the tendons and bones to address bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome) presenting as soreness, weakness, and coldness of the lower back and knees. This herb also treats bone spurs.

Lu Han Cao tonifies the Kidney to help it grasp Qi (thereby strengthening the Lung—think asthma with wheezing/difficulty on the intake breath). This action also nourishes the Heart when, for example, deficient Heart Qi leads to palpitations and anxiety.

Lu Han Cao stops bleeding; when combined with other stop-bleeding herbs, it treats such presentations as epistaxis (nosebleeds), hematemesis (vomiting blood), and abnormal/excessive uterine bleeding.