English: Eclipta herbs

Chinese: 墨旱莲

Parts used: Dried aerial part

TCM category: Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency

TCM nature: Cold

TCM taste(s): SourSweet

Organ affinity: Kidney Liver

Scientific name: Eclipta prostrata

Other names: Han Lian Cao, False daisy, Yerba de tago, Karisalankanni, Bhringraj

Use of Mo han lian (eclipta 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: Cut the whole plant and keep the aerial part. Wash it and dry it in the sun or in the shade.

Dosage: 6 - 18 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Tonifies Yin of the Liver and Kidneys. Clears Blood Heat and stops bleeding.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Mo han lian may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Tinnitus Premature graying Loose teeth Dizziness Blurred vision Vomiting blood Nosebleed Blood in urine Blood in stools Abnormal uterine bleeding

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Cold Deficiency symptoms associated with the Spleen or Kidney.

Common TCM formulas in which Mo han lian is used*

Er Zhi Wan

Source date: 1534 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes Liver Yin. Nourishes Kidney Yin.

Conditions targeted*: InsomniaHemorrhage and others

Mo han lian is a king ingredient in Er Zhi Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

In Er Zhi Wan, Mo han lian is sweet, sour, and cold. It supplies the Essence, nourishes the Yin and cools the Blood to stop bleeding. Together with Nu Zhen Zi it nourishes the Yin aspects of the Liver and the Kidneys, without being cloying.

Read more about Er Zhi Wan

Key TCM concepts behind Mo han lian's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mo han lian belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a 'burn-out', unfortunately more and more common among people today. It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!

Furthermore Mo han lian is Cold in nature. This means that Mo han lian 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 Mo han lian can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Mo han lian also tastes Sour and Sweet. 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. Sour ingredients like Mo han lian helps with digestion and restrain abnormal discharges of Fluids from the body, such as diarrhea or heavy sweating. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Mo han lian is thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. 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.

Research on Mo han lian

Jiangtang Bushen formula (composed of Eclipta Herb), which aims to tonify Pi and Shen, nourish Yin and clear away heat can improve insulin resistance and alleviate clinical symptoms of T2DM patients.1


1. Fan GJ, Tang XY, Li SL. (2006). Effects of Jiangtang Bushen Recipe on serum C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. , 26(4):329-31.