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Qian Shi

Close up of Qian Shi

What is Qian Shi?

Gordon Euryale Seed (qian shi, 芡实), also known as Makhana Seed or Foxnut Seed, comes from Euryale ferox, a plant that is more commonly known as Prickly Water Lily. This plant is grown throughout ponds and low-lying lakes in China, Japan and India, where it can reach a height of nearly 10 feet. Prickly Water Lily has hermaphroditic flowers and small, round seeds with a brown outer covering. These seeds are usually collected between August and September when they are ripe. These seeds are then shelled, dried under the sun and pounded for medicinal usage.

As early as about 2000 years ago, Qian Shi was already hailed as a top-grade tonic that was said to help with longevity and staying youthful, as recorded in The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica. This herb is also nicknamed as ‘the water ginseng’ due to its high nutritional and medicinal value.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qian Shi falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stabilize and bind’. Such herbs are used to treat abnormal discharges and displacement of organs, including conditions such as diarrhoea, discharges from the vagina, penis or rectum, as well as prolapse of the uterus or rectum.

Neutral in nature, Qian Shi does not affect the yin-yang balance in your body. Sour and sweet in taste, Qian Shi can aid digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as heavy sweating. This herb can also slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, the herb targets the Kidneys and the Spleen.

Functions and Benefits of Qian Shi

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Qian Shi has the following health benefits.

Qian Shi can tonify the Kidneys to secure essence and treat symptoms such as seminal emission, spermatorrhea, soreness and limpness of knees and lumbar, premature ejaculation and urinary incontinence. Qian Shi can also tonify the Spleen, dry Dampness and astringe the intestines to check diarrhoea. In particular, Qian Shi can treat chronic diarrhoea among children. In addition, Qian Shi is also an effective treatment for leukorrhagia.

Chen Siduo, a famous physician in the Qing Dynasty, said it best: “This herb is able to stop pain in lower back and knees, improve eyesight and hearing, and prolong life in long-term use. It looks plain and ordinary but in fact has many health benefits. It not only stops night emission but also increases the sperm count. What’s more, it removes damp-phlegm in the Spleen and stomach, which in turn helps the production of kidney-essence.” So to speak, it is an effective solution in terms of invigorating the Spleen and Kidneys

Other than the above Euryale ferox benefits, Qian Shi is extremely rich in carbohydrates but almost free from fat. It is thus very easily absorbed by the human body. This herb can help to strengthen the digestive system and aid digestive health. In addition, Qian Shi is said to aid weight management and strengthen your immune system.

Gordon Euryale (Qian Shi) in a glass bowl
Qian Shi is a neutral herb that can help to ease chronic diarrhoea.

How to Use Qian Shi

The recommended daily dosage of Qian Shi is 10 – 15g, when consumed as a decoction.

Raw, dried Qian Shi can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores, as can Qian Shi powders and decoctions. Many herbal shops also sell formulas that contain powdered Qian Shi.

Cautions and Side Effects of Qian Shi

Qian Shi should not be used by individuals who are experiencing difficulty in urinating, constipation, heavy turbid qi, and severe cold. Also, pregnant individuals should refrain from using the herb for the time being.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Qian Shi to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Qian Shi:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 芡实
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): qiàn shí
  • Herb name (English): Gordon Euryale Seed
  • Herb name (Botanical): Semen Euryales
  • Origin of species: Euryale ferox Salisb.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Kernel
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Shandong
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, astringent; Neutral; Administrates the Spleen and Kidney Meridians
  • Actions: Relieves symptoms relating to premature ejaculation; Eases chronic diarrhoea and excessive vaginal discharge

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Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.