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Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)

Close up of Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)

What is Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)?

Pipewort Flower (gu jing cao, 谷精草), also known as Flos Eriocauli or Buerger Pipewort Flower, refers to the inflorescence of Eriocaulon buergerianum Koern, an annual herb that belongs to the Eriocaulaceae family. It was first recorded in the Materia Medica of the Kaibao Period (Kaibao Bencao) around 974 AD.

Every autumn, people gather these flower heads, remove the impurities on them, dry them under the sun and then cut them into segments for medicinal usage. Grayish Gu Jing Cao with yellowish-green, short stems and no impurities are seen to be of better quality.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), Gu Jing Cao falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat, purge Fire and clear Summer Heat. Such herbs can clear inflammatory and infectious conditions referred to as Internal Heat in TCM. Warm in nature, Gu Jing Cao 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.

Sweet in taste, Gu Jing Cao can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Gu Jing Cao targets the stomach and the Liver.

Functions and Benefits of Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Gu Jing Cao has the following health benefits.

Gu Jing Cao can clear Liver Heat and Wind-Heat, especially Wind-Heat in the face and head. This herb is thus indicated for symptoms such as blood-shot eyes, lacrimation with gritty secretion, photophobia, nebula of the eyes caused by the attack of Wind-Heat of Liver-Heat. For eye diseases caused by Wind-Heat, Gu Jing Cao can be combined with other Liver-clearing and vision-improving herbs to enhance its effectiveness.

Also, Gu Jing Cao can relieve headache, toothache and sore throat caused by Wind-Heat. This herb can be combined with other Wind-Heat-dispelling herbs to enhance its effectiveness.

Close up of Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)
Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) can help to relieve headaches and toothaches.

How to Use Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)

The recommended daily dosage of Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) is 5 – 15g, when used as a decoction. 

Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) is available in other supplement forms too, such as pills, powders, lotions, ointments and extracts. Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) and its supplements can be found in herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao)

Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) should not be used by individuals experiencing eye diseases caused by Blood Deficiency or metabolic deficiency. Also, Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) should not have any contact with iron at all. It is not recommended for individuals with anaemic symptoms to take this herb.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao) to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Pipewort Flower (Gu Jing Cao):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 谷精草
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): gǔ jīng cǎo
  • Herb name (English): Pipewort Flower
  • Herb name (Botanical): Flos Eriocauli
  • Origin of species: Eriocaulon buergerianum Koern.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Flower
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Pungent, sweet; Neutral; Administrates the Lung and Liver Meridians
  • Actions: Eases eye discomforts; Relieves headaches and toothaches

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