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Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)

Close up of Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)

What is Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)?

Radix Rhapontici (lou lu, 漏芦), also known as Uniflower Swisscentaury Root, refers to the root of Rhaponticum uniflorum, a perennial herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This herb was first recorded in The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, 神农本草经) in the late Western Han Dynasty, which was around 100 BCE.

Often growing on hillsides, pine forests and birch forests at an altitude of 390 – 2700 meters, Rhaponticum uniflorum can be found in China, Mongolia, North Korea, Japan, Siberia and the Far East of Russia. Every spring and autumn, people gather the plant’s roots, wash them with water, remove their impurities and fibrous roots before cutting them into pieces, and dry them under the sun for medicinal usage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Radix Rhapontici falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and relieve toxicity’. Such herbs are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as Internal Heat in TCM. Cold in nature, Radix Rhapontici can help individuals who have 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 salty in taste, Radix Rhapontici can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, Radix Rhapontici has a draining effect on the body by clearing accumulations, removing phlegm and softening hard lumps. In particular, Radix Rhapontici targets the large intestines and the stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu) has the following health benefits.

Radix Rhapontici can clear Heat and resolve toxicity. It can help to drain abscesses and swellings, as well as helping to expel pus. Radix Rhapontici can be used to treat the beginning stages of sores and swellings, especially for swelling and pain in the breast, such as mastitis and abscess in the breast caused by Heat.

Also, Radix Rhapontici can promote lactation. This herb is often indicated for the lack of milk secretion and breast distention, especially when caused by Heat.

Close up of Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)
Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu) can relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain.

How to Use Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)

The recommended daily dosage of Radix Rhapontici is 5 -9g, when used as a decoction. Alternatively, the herb can be pounded into powder for application or decocted for washing. Do consult your healthcare provider on the appropriate dosage for external application of Radix Rhapontici.

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

Cautions and Side Effects of Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu)

Radix Rhapontici should not be used by individuals with weak immunity, experiencing Qi Deficiency or pregnancy.

Consuming Radix Rhapontici in large doses may cause side effects such as cramps, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest.

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


Here is a summary for Radix Rhapontici (Lou Lu):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 漏芦
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): lòu lú
  • Herb name (English): Uniflower Swisscentaury Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix Rhapontici
  • Origin of species: Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): NorthEastern, northern and western parts of China
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Cold; Administrates the Stomach Meridian
  • Actions: Eases tender and swollen mammalian glands; Helps to stimulate lactation; Relieves pains related to rheumatoid arthritis

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