Yerbadetajo Herb (Eclipta Prostrata)
What is Yerbadetajo Herb (Eclipta Prostrata)?
Yerbadetajo Herb (mo han lian, 墨旱莲), also known as Eclipta Prostrata, is a hardy and non-invasive plant that can grow up to two feet in height. This herb has a thin, wooden stem, dark green leaves and small white flowers.
Since ancient times, anecdotal evidence suggests that when applied to the scalp, an extract of fresh Eclipta Prostrata can promote hair growth. This small, unassuming plant that is likely native to the Indian subcontinent has spread across the world over the past hundreds of years. It is now widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as commercial products such as hair and skin care.
In TCM, Eclipta Prostrata falls under the category of ‘Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency’. It is used on patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the ‘four treasures’ (qi, blood, yin, yang). This herb has a heavy, moist nature and can address symptoms caused by Yin Deficiency. It can either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach.
Cold in nature, Eclipta Prostrata can help individuals who have too much ‘Heat’ in their body to restore their yin-yang balance, such as those who are experiencing Yang Excess or Yin Deficiency. Sour and sweet in taste, this herb helps with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating. It 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 Liver.
Functions and Benefits of Eclipta Prostrata
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Eclipta Prostrata has the following functions.
Firstly, Eclipta Prostrata can help to relieve syndromes caused by Yin Deficiency in the Liver and Kidney. For example, this herb is often indicated for symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, dim sight, early white beard and hair, soreness, and limpness of lumbar and knees.
Secondly, Eclipta Prostrata can help to relieve bleeding syndromes. It is frequently used for bleeding caused by Heat in the blood, as this herb can nourish yin, clear Heat and cool blood to stop bleeding. It can be applied singly, added to juice or decocted with dry herb to address bleeding symptoms.
Other than the above Eclipta Prostrata benefits, modern research has also discovered many other potential health benefits of Eclipta Prostrata. The most famous benefit of Eclipta Prostrata is none other than its effect on our hair health. This herb is often added to our shampoos to moisturise the scalp, prevent dry skin and consequent dandruff. Furthermore, it can strengthen follicles and follicle beds, prevent hair loss, slow down hair conditions such as male pattern baldness, and restore radiance to your hair.
Eclipta Prostrata is also found to strengthen Liver health, relieve bowel inflammation and calm disturbances in the stomach such as indigestion and constipation. It can restore normal functionality to these organs with the rich variety of chemical and organic compounds that it contains.
Eclipta Prostrata also has certain antibacterial and antiseptic properties that make it effective at preventing and treating urinary infections and respiratory issues. Not only that, but as the leaves of this herb have large amounts of carotene, it can help to eliminate free radicals that cause cataracts, and help to keep our vision healthy.
How to Use Eclipta Prostrata
You can find fresh and dried Eclipta Prostrata leaves and stems in most herbal stores. Some stores also sell water-based Eclipta Prostrata extracts. Its leaves may also be grounded into a poultice and applied directly to the skin.
The recommended dosage is 10-15g per serving, but this amount varies based on the condition being treated.
Cautions and Side Effects of Eclipta Prostrata
Individuals who are experiencing Cold Deficiency symptoms associated with the Spleen or Kidney should avoid consuming Eclipta Prostrata.
The American Herbal Products Association has also stated that Eclipta Prostrata should not be used on patients who have acute or chronic diarrhoea.
While there are no known drug interactions with Eclipta Prostrata, it is always good practice to check with your healthcare provider first before including the herb or any other herbal product into your diet.
Here is a summary for Eclipta Prostrata:
- Herb name (Chinese): 墨旱莲
- Herb name (Pin Yin): mò hàn lián
- Herb name (English): Yerbadetajo Herb
- Herb name (Botanical): Herba Ecliptae
- Origin of species: Eclipta prostrata L.
- Part(s) of herb used: Plant parts above ground
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet, sour; Cold; Administrates the Kidney and Liver meridians
- Actions: Eases back pain and weak knees; Helps to relieve erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation; Relieves bleeding due to internal Heat.
Arunachalam, G., Subramanian, N., Pazhani, G. P., & Ravichandran, V. (2009). Anti-inflammatory activity of methanolic extract of Eclipta prostrata L.(Astearaceae). African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 3(3), 097-100. [Accessed on 22 September 2022]
Feng, L., Zhai, Y. Y., Xu, J., Yao, W. F., Cao, Y. D., Cheng, F. F., … & Zhang, L. (2019). A review on traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Eclipta prostrata (L.) L. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 245, 112109.[Accessed on 22 September 2022]
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