English: Climbing groundsel herbs

Chinese: 千里光

Parts used: Whole plants

TCM category: Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Large intestine Liver Lung

Scientific name: Senecio angulatus

Other names: Ragwort, Senecio

Use of Qian Li Guang (climbing groundsel herbs) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Harvest when the branches and leaves are lush and the flowers are about to bloom in summer and autumn, then dry in the sun.

Dosage: 10-30g

Main actions according to TCM*: Clears Liver Yang and brightens the eyes. Clear Toxic-Heat and kills Intestinal parasites.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Qian Li Guang may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Carbuncles Eczema Skin lesions Pimples Lymphatic inflammation Diarrhea Dysentery Intestinal abscess Jaundice Influenza Septicemia Moist fungal infections Tonsillitis Lead toxicity Laryngitis Bronchitis Enteritis Swollen throat Throat pain Leptospirosis Abdominal distension Red eyes Eye pain Swollen eyes Eye hyperemia Nebulae Conjunctivitis Trachoma Keratitis Corneal ulcers Urinary tract infection Malaria Post-surgical inflammation

Contraindications*: Prolonged use at full dosage for more than four weeks could potentially result in minor cumulative toxicity.

Key TCM concepts behind Qian Li Guang's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qian Li Guang belongs to the 'Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat' category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as 'Internal Heat' in TCM. This is why most of the herbs in this category will have both antibacterial and antiviral properties. In TCM one has too much 'Internal Heat' in their body as a result of a deficiency of 'Yin' (which is Cold in nature, see our explanation on Yin and Yang) or, more commonly, an Excess of Yang (Hot in nature). Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire treat the latter and as such tend to be Cold or Neutral in nature.

As suggested by its category Qian Li Guang is Cold in nature. This means that Qian Li Guang typically helps people who have too much 'Heat' in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Heat in their body are said to either have a Yang Excess (because Yang is Hot in nature) or a Yin deficiency (Yin is Cold in Nature). Depending on your condition Qian Li Guang can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Qian Li Guang also tastes Bitter. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Qian Li Guang tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Qian Li Guang is thought to target the Large intestine, the Liver and the Lung. In TCM the Large Intestine receives the "impure" parts of the digested food from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining fluids and excrete the remainder as feces. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions. In addition to performing respiration, the Lungs are thought in TCM to be a key part of the production chain for Qi and the Body Fluids that nourish the body.