Achyranthes Bidentata (Niu Xi)

Achyranthes Bidentata also known as: niou hsi (niu xi)

This is a perennial herb with slender stalks and opposite elliptical leaves. The greenish purple stems have large joints that resemble the knee of an ox, hence the Chinese name niou hsi, "ox-knee." The best-quality roots are straight and flexible, streaked lengthwise with fine wrinkles, brownish yellow in color, and contain saponins. One ancient source says that the staminate plant, which has large purple joints, is medicinally superior to the pistillate plant, which has small green joints. The shoots of all varieties of this plant are edible.

The herb is native to China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.


Energy: neutral
Flavor: bitter, Sour
Affinity: liver, kidneys

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS: diuretic; emmenagogue; tonic; promotes circulation and dissolves clots; relieves pain in knees and lower back; clears bruising (TCM: tonifies liver- and kidney-energy; nourishes sinews and bones)

INDICATIONS: menstrual disorders; stiffness and pain in lower back, waist, and knees (lumbago); bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and blood in sputum; urethritis; traumatic injuries to bones and joints; poor circulation (TCM: empty kidney-yin)

DOSAGE: decoction: 5-10 grams daily, in two doses, on an empty stomach

CONTRAINDICATIONS: nocturnal emission; painful bloating in legs and knees (TCM: empty spleen-energy) INCOMPATIBLES: tortoise shell; Cynanchum japonicum; mutton

REMARKS: Chinese herbals particularly recommend this herb as a diuretic remedy for bladder and urinary tract problems, and as an effective emmenagogue for menstrual disorders. For sciatica and lumbago due to deficiency in kidney-energy, use with an equal portion of eucommia. As a remedy for blood and circulatory problems, combine with Rehmannia glutinosa.

Return from Achyranthes Bidentata (Niu Xi) to List of Chinese Herbs

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