English: Vaccaria seeds

Chinese: 王不留行

Parts used: Dried seeds

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Stomach Liver

Scientific name: Vaccaria hispanica

Other names: Cowherb seeds, Cowcockle seeds

Use of Wang Bu Liu Xing (vaccaria seeds ) 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: Collect seeds and dry them

Dosage: 3-9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Invigorates Blood. Promotes lactation and menstruation. Reduces painful swelling of the breasts and testicles.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Wang Bu Liu Xing may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Clogged milk ducts Low milk supply Mastitis Dysmenorrhea Amenorrhea

Contraindications*: Do not use during pregnancy.

Common TCM formulas in which Wang Bu Liu Xing is used*

Xia Ru Yong Quan San

Source date: 1840 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Formula key actions: Nourishes Blood. Increases breast milk supply.

In Xia Ru Yong Quan San, Wang Bu Liu Xing invigorates Blood and promotes lactation.

Read more about Xia Ru Yong Quan San

Key TCM concepts behind Wang Bu Liu Xing's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Wang Bu Liu Xing 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 Wang Bu Liu Xing is Neutral in nature. This means that Wang Bu Liu Xing typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Wang Bu Liu Xing means that you don't have to worry about that!

Wang Bu Liu Xing 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 Wang Bu Liu Xing 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 Wang Bu Liu Xing is thought to target the Stomach and the Liver. In TCM the Stomach is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine. 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 Wang Bu Liu Xing

Various pharmacological studies confirmed that the crude extracts or purified compounds from Vaccaria hispanica showed galactopoietic activity, antitumor activity, effect on the blood and vessels, antioxidant activity and ameliorative effect on osteopenia.1


1. Zhou, G., Tang, L., Wang, T. et al (2016). Phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of Vaccaria hispanica (Miller) Rauschert: a review. Phytochem Rev 15: 813. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-015-9425-1