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Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan)

Close up of Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan), also known as Radix Dipsaci

What is Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan)?

Himalayan Teasel Root (xu duan, 续断) refers to the roots of Teasel, a flowering plant that is also known as Dipsacus. This plant has an appearance that is similar to that of a lilac, with long, cylindrical flowers and bracts that are curved and thorny. Teasel grows throughout Europe and certain parts of Asia, reaching a height of up to five feet and bearing small fruits that resemble nuts.

With a Chinese name that means “restore what is broken”, Xu Duan is often used medicinally. The roots of Teasel are dug up in summer, cleansed, cut into slices and dried under the sun for medicinal usage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Xu Duan falls under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for Yang Deficiency’. Such herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency to replenish one’s ‘Four Treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). Warm in nature, Xu Duan can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Excess or a Yang Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance.

Bitter and sour in taste, Xu Duan can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. The herb can also aid digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as diarrhoea or heavy sweating. In particular, Xu Duan targets the Kidneys and the Liver.

Functions and Benefits of Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Xu Duan has the following health benefits.

Xu Duan can tonify the Liver and Kidneys, and strengthen tendons and bones. This herb is thus often indicated for symptoms such as soreness and pain in lumbar and knees, atrophy-flaccidity and limpness of lower limbs. Also, Xu Duan can promote blood circulation to alleviate pain and treat atrophy-flaccidity to relieve arthralgia. The herb is indicated for lumbar pain, feet flaccidity, spasms and chronic arthralgia caused by Wind-Damp.

Xu Duan is also used as an auxiliary herb in the treatment of symptoms of Kidneys’ Deficiency such as impotence, seminal emission, spermatorrhea, enuresis and frequent urination. 

Due to its ability in activating blood to remove Stasis and alleviate pain, Xu Duan is also commonly used in traumatology, both external and internal. The herb can treat falling, hitting, hematoma, swelling and pain. For injuries of tendons and fractures, such as ankle injuries, Xu Duan can be combined with other blood-activating herbs to enhance its effectiveness. Also, the herb can help to treat external sores topically .

Xu Duan is also used to treat potential miscarriages, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and habitual abortion. By tonifying the Liver and Kidneys, regulating and strengthening thoroughfare and conception vessels, Xu Duan can support individuals with their pregnancies.

Modern studies suggest that Xu Duan may help to treat osteoporosis and osteopenia. It may assist with the structural repair of connective tissues and bones, increase blood circulation, aid the growth of damaged bone tissue, stimulate new bone growth, build bone density and alleviate muscle pain. Also, Xu Duan may help to treat chronic Lyme disease. Chronic Lyme disease happens when antibiotics fail to heal the body, and fatigue, headaches and other symptoms linger, often longer than six months. Xu Duan can stimulate the body’s muscles and cells to detox the body.

Xu Duan is considered an excellent diuretic, which encourages sweating, rids the body of toxins, unneeded salt and water, which relieves water retention and tissue inflammation. Xu Duan helps to treat Candida overgrowth and jaundice as well. When it comes to the treatment of depression, exhaustion, stress, feelings of despair, fatigue, mental fog, apathy and memory problems, Xu Duan is very useful too. 

Due to the toning and brightening effects of Xu Duan, it is also used by cosmetic companies as an antioxidant or a source of anti-ageing properties. In ancient times, an ointment was made from Xu Duan to treat warts and acne. It has also been used to treat skin diseases such as fistulas and cancerous sores. 

Close up of Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan), also known as Radix Dipsaci
Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan) can help to relieve lower back pain.

How to Use Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan)

The recommended daily dosage of Xu Duan is 10 – 15g. You can stir-bake the herb with salty water to enhance its effectiveness in tonifying the Liver and Kidneys, and in strengthening tendons and bones. To activate blood and unblock collaterals, it is better to stir-bake the herb with alcohol.

When treating uterine bleeding, make sure to use Xu Duan that has been fried. For external uses, make sure to use a powdered version of Xu Duan. As a tonic, both raw and cooked versions may be used.

Raw and processed Xu Duan are available at some Asian markets and herbal shops. The herb is also often available in supplement forms such as pills and powder.

Cautions and Side Effects of Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan)

Xu Duan should not be used by individuals who are experiencing Yin Deficiency with Excess Fire, early stages of dysenteric disorders, or anger related to Qi Stagnation.

Also, do not consume Xu Duan with Lei Wan (Omphalia).

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Xu Duan into your healthcare routine.


Here is a summary for Himalayan Teasel Root (Xu Duan):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 续断
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): xù duàn
  • Herb name (English): Himalayan Teasel Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix Dipsaci
  • Origin of species: Dipsacus asper Wall. ex Henry
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, pungent; Slightly warm; Administrates the Liver and Kidney Meridians
  • Actions: Helps to ease symptoms of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation; Relieves lower back and rheumatic pain; Helps to ease heavy uterine discharge, or uterine discharge (spotting) during pregnancy; Aids recovery from physical injuries

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