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Glehniae Radix

What is Glehniae Radix?

Glehniae Radix (bei sha shen, 北沙参), also known as Coastal Glehnia Root, refers to the root of Glehnia littoralis Fr. Schmidt ex Miq., a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the Umbelliferae family. Native to Eastern Asia, this plant also grows in areas such as Alaska.

After the roots of the plant are dug up from the dirt, they are then dried under the sun and processed in tonics to treat a variety of ailments.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Glehniae Radix falls under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for yin deficiency’. Such herbs are used for patterns of deficiency by replenishing one’s ‘Four Treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). Cool in nature, Glehniae Radix can help individuals with too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a yang excess or a yin deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance.

Bitter and sweet in taste, Glehniae Radix can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Glehniae Radix can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Glehniae Radix targets the Lungs and the stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Glehniae Radix

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Glehniae Radix has the following health benefits.

Glehniae Radix can nourish Lung yin and clear Lung Heat. The herb can be used to relieve symptoms such as dry cough with little Phlegm, blood in Phlegm, dryness in throat and hoarseness caused by Lung yin deficiency. To enhance its effectiveness in treating the above symptoms, Glehniae Radix can be combined with other Lung-clearing and dryness-moistening herbs. By clearing congestion and Phlegm, Glehniae Radix can relieve respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia too.

Also, Glehniae Radix can be combined with yin-nourishing, Lung-moistening and cough-relieving herbs to relieve cough without Phlegm or with little Phlegm, hemoptysis, bone-steaming and tidal fever caused by Lung yin deficiency.

Also, Glehniae Radix is indicated for syndromes of stomach yin deficiency. For example, Glehniae Radix can relieve thirst, hunger with no appetite, dry stools, stomach ache, distending in stomach and retching. It can be combined with other yin-nourishing and fluid-producing herbs to enhance its effectiveness.

A natural pain-relieving herb, Glehniae Radix can alleviate soreness, body aches and fever. Glehniae Radix can also be taken as a general tonifying tonic to help clear, replenish and rehydrate the body after illness.

Topically, Glehniae Radix can be used to treat skin conditions such as rashes and eczema. It is especially useful in the treatment of skin that has been dried out by harsh winter conditions.

How to Use Glehniae Radix

The recommended daily dosage of Glehniae Radix is 10 – 15 g, when used as a decoction. This herb is often found in herbal prescriptions and in soups.

Glehniae Radix and its supplements, such as pills and powder, can be found in herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Glehniae Radix

Glehniae Radix should not be used by individuals experiencing conditions of Wind-Cold or by individuals with a weak Cold Spleen.

Also, Glehniae Radix should not be used concurrently with species of Veratrum nigrum L.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Glehniae Radix to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Glehniae Radix:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 北沙参
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): běi shā shēn
  • Herb name (English): Coastal Glehnia Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix Glehniae
  • Origin of species: Glehnia littoralis Fr. Schmidt ex Miq.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Shandong, Jiangsu, Fujian
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, slightly Bitter; Slightly cold; Administrates the Lung and Stomach Meridians
  • Actions: Eases dry coughs; Relieves stomach discomforts, such as lack of appetite, constipation, etc

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