Plum Dragon Herbs

Cang Er Zi (Xanthium Fruit)


Cang Er Zi (Xanthium Fruit) is a traditional Chinese herb with a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine but is underutilized in the dit da world. This premium grade Xanthium fruit is sourced directly from our trusted supplier, known for their high-quality Chinese herbs. Cang Er Zi is commonly used to support respiratory health, particularly for conditions such as nasal congestion, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis. This herb also has a traditional use to support the immune system, and as a natural remedy to relieve pain and discomfort associated with headaches and migraines. Principally an exterior-releasing herb, Cang Er Zi can also dispel wind and wind-damp conditions to treat conditions such as Bi syndrome and symptoms of arthritis. 

High Quality Cang Er Zi: What does it look like?

Xanthium sibiricum, also known as Cang Er Zi, is a traditional Chinese herb that has a unique sensory characteristics:

  • Appearance: Dried Xanthium sibiricum is brown in color. 
  • Texture: The texture of the dried herb is crisp and brittle, indicating that it has been dried properly.
  • Aroma: The herb has a slightly bitter and pungent aroma, which is strong and distinct, with a slightly musty undertone. When the herb is crushed, the aroma intensifies and becomes more pronounced.
  • Taste: The taste of Xanthium sibiricum is bitter and pungent. It is important to note that the herb is not used for culinary purposes and it's intended for medicinal use only.

Overall, high-quality Xanthium sibiricum should be free from any dust, sand or other contaminants, and should have a consistent color, texture and aroma. It should be stored in a cool, dry place and protected from light to preserve its quality.

How is Cang Er Zi prepared and processed?

Cang Er Zi, also known as Sibirian cocklebur, is a plant that is native to Asia, specifically parts of China, Japan, and Korea. It is a hardy and adaptable plant that can grow in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, meadows, and along roadsides. It prefers well-drained, moist soil and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows to a height of 1-3 meters and has large, lobed leaves and small, yellow-green flowers that produce spiky burrs. The plant is considered invasive in some areas, and is commonly found in disturbed sites, along roadsides, and in fields.

This herb is traditionally prepared and processed by first harvesting the ripe fruits, then washing and drying them under the sun or in a low-temperature oven. The dried fruits are then stored in a cool, dry place until they are ready to be used. The dried fruits can be used to make decoctions, powders, or pills. When making a decoction, the dried fruits are typically simmered for a short period of time and consumed as a tea. Powders and pills are often used as a more convenient form of consumption.

Cang Er Zi is considered to be a safe herb to use but it should be avoided during pregnancy. It is also not recommended for people who have a deficiency of Qi and blood. Cang Er Zi can be used in combination with other herbs such as Xing Ren, Jie Geng, and Bai Zhi for better results when treating nasal congestion, sinusitis and other respiratory conditions. 

Popular Recipe for Cang Er Zi

A popular recipe for Cang Er Zi in TCM is to make a decoction by boiling the dried fruit in water, which can be consumed as a tea to help alleviate symptoms related to allergies, sinusitis, rhinitis and headaches.

Here is a recipe for preparing a Cang Er Zi decoction:


  • 1/2 cup of dried Cang Er Zi (Xanthium fruit)
  • 4 cups of water


  1. Rinse the Cang Er Zi thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Add the Cang Er Zi to a pot and add 4 cups of water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Let the decoction simmer for 30-60 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  5. Strain the decoction into a cup or pitcher.
  6. The decoction can be consumed as a tea, and it can be taken several times a day.

It's worth noting that Cang Er Zi is considered a medicinal herb and it's important to use it with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. It can have side effects and can interact with other medications, so it's important to consult a professional before using it. 

Safety Precautions for the use of Cang Er Zi

 While it is considered safe when used as directed, there are some general safety precautions to keep in mind when using Cang Er Zi:

  • Consult a qualified healthcare professional before using Cang Er Zi, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as a history of allergies, asthma, or heart disease.
  • Keep Cang Er Zi away from children and pets, as it can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts.
  • Avoid using Cang Er Zi if you have a history of allergic reactions.
  • Cang Er Zi may cause skin irritation, so use gloves when handling it or avoiding touching it with bare skin.
  • Avoid using Cang Er Zi if you are taking medication for blood pressure, blood thinning or sedative drugs, as it may interact with them.
  • Cang Er Zi should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care. If you experience any adverse reactions, seek immediate medical attention.

When handling Cang Er Zi, it's important to take proper precautions as with any herb or supplement. You should always make sure that your hands are clean and dry before handling the herb. Keep it in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight, and avoid storing it in damp or humid areas.

It’s important to note that this is a general guideline and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist to determine the right dosage and usage for you. 

Additional Information about Cang Er Zi

Common Names: Cang Er Zi (Xanthium fruit); Xanthium sibiricum; Fructus Xanthii

Properties: Bitter, Acrid, Warm, Toxic

Channels Entered: Lung, Liver

Cang Er Zi exhibits bitter and acrid flavors, and is warm in energy, Cang Er Zi enters the Lung and Liver meridians.


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