Zi Cao Gen – Lithospermum Root – Radix Lithospermi

Zi Cao Gen

English Name: lithospermum root, (purple or red) groomwell root, amebia

Literal Translation: “purple herb root”

Pharmaceutical Name: Radia Lithospermi

Medica Category: Heat-Clearing and Blood-Cooling Herbs

Properties: Zi Cao Gen enters the Heart and Liver channels; it is sweet in nature and cold in temperature.

What is Zi Cao Gen?:

The Chinese Herb Zi Cao Gen comes from a relatively small, flowering plant in the Boraginaceae (borage or forget-me-not) family that is cultivated in Japan for its purple or red dye. In the Chinese tradition its roots are harvested in autumn and dried for use as medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Zi Cao Gen:

Zi Cao Gen invigorates and cools the blood and clears lingering heat and toxicity that manifests (clinically) in the skin as macula/other skin conditions characterized by blotchiness and dark purple colorations as well as measles (with incomplete expression). This herb also addresses sore throat with swelling that comes from this same root cause of blood heat/stagnation.

Zi Cao Gen may be used topically or internally to address various other skin conditions (e.g. abscesses, lesions, eczema, carbuncles, burns, etc…) that present with heat (redness and swelling) and toxicity (infection) signs.

Zi Gan Cao addresses constipation/dry stool with blood heat as the root cause.