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: Remove impurities and smaller roots, wash and dry.
Dosage: 3 - 9 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.
Contraindications*: Not to be used for headaches that occur because of Deficiency of Yin or from raising Liver Yang; it should not be used when there is abnormal bleeding or during pregnancy.
Source date: 1481 AD
Number of ingredients: 5 herbs
Formula key actions: Promotes the movement of Qi. Releases all types of Stagnation (Qi, Blood, Phlegm, Fire, Food and Dampness).
Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Yue Ju Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Yue Ju Wan, Chuan Xiong helps remove Blood Stagnation and the pain typically associated with it.
Source date: 1830 AD
Number of ingredients: 12 herbs
Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Eliminates Blood Stagnation below the diaphragm. Stops pain. Promotes Qi movement.
Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1830 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.
Chuan Xiong is a king ingredient in Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Chuan Xiong belongs to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stagnation when it causes certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.
Furthermore Chuan Xiong is Warm in nature. This means that Chuan Xiong tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Chuan Xiong can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Chuan Xiong also tastes Pungent. 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. Pungent ingredients like Chuan Xiong tends to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Chuan Xiong is thought to target the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium. Similar to modern medicine, in TCM the Gallbladder stores and releases bile produced by the Liver. It also controls the emotion of decisiveness. 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. The Pericardium is also called the "heart protector". It is the first line of defence for the Heart against external pathogenic influences
Ligusticum chuanxiong could help treat cardiovascular diseases because it contains ligustilide and senkyunolide A which both have vasorelaxation activities.1.
1. SSK Chan, TY Cheng, G Lin (2007). Relaxation effects of ligustilide and senkyunolide A, two main constituents of Ligusticum chuanxiong, in rat isolated aorta. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 111(3), p. 677-680. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2006.12.018