Qian Cao – India Madder Root – Radix Rubiae

Qian Cao

English Name: madder, India madder root

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Rubiae

Medica Category: Stop-Bleeding Herbs

Properties: Qian Cao enters the Liver channel; it is bitter in nature and cold in temperature.

What is Qian Cao?:

The Chinese Herb Qian Cao is the dried roots of the Indian madder (Rubia cordifolia L.), a small flowering plant in the coffee family traditionally used in India as a source of red dye. In China, the plant grows/is cultivated in Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong provinces; its roots are dug up in the spring and autumn then cleaned and dried for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Qian Cao:

Qian Cao cools the blood, balances yin, and sedates fire to stop bleeding caused by blood heat. Clinical applications of this herb include manifestations of heat in the blood such as epistaxis (nosebleeds), hematemesis (vomiting blood), profuse menstrual bleeding, and hematochezia (bleeding from the anus).

Qian Cao stops bleeding while simultaneously activating blood circulation to dispel blood stasis and relieve pain. It is an excellent choice to address chest and flank pain and amenorrhea/dysmenorrhea caused by blood stasis. Qian Cao also addresses pain/bleeding from traumatic injuries.

Qian Cao disperses wind-dampness and unblocks the channels and collaterals to address pain from bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome) in the bones and joints.

–safety notes:

Contraindicated during pregnancy.


Do not use long term.

Student practitioner safety notes: use with caution for Spleen/Stomach deficiency, jing deficiency, blood deficiency, yin-deficient fire, and in the absence of blood stagnation.