Achyranthis Bidentatae Radix, commonly known as Niu Xi in traditional Chinese medicine, is a perennial herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for its various therapeutic properties and is highly valued for its effectiveness in treating various ailments, such as menstrual cramps, lower back pain, and knee pain. The root of this herb is the part that is used for medicinal purposes. Huai Niu Xi is a regulating herb. Achyranthes Root is bitter, sour, and neutral in energy, and effects the Liver and Kidney meridians.
Niu Xi is known to have several active compounds, including but not limited to, achyranthine, ligustilide, tetramethylpyrazine, and angelicoside. These compounds are responsible for the herb's anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties. Additionally, it is also believed to possess properties that help in regulating the menstrual cycle and promoting healthy blood circulation. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners often use Niu Xi in combination with other herbs to treat various health conditions, as it is believed to enhance the effectiveness of other herbs when used in conjunction. However, it is important to note that further scientific research is needed to fully understand the active compounds in Niu Xi and their efficacy.
High Quality Niu Xi (Huai): What does it look like?
High quality Niu Xi (Huai) has a cylindrical shape and is usually brown or dark brown in color. It has a tough, rough, and slightly wrinkled exterior and a dense, hard, and fibrous interior. The surface of Niu Xi is often covered with a thin layer of rootlets and is sometimes discolored due to age or improper storage. The length and thickness of Niu Xi varies, but it is typically around 10-15 cm in length and 1-2 cm in diameter. The cut end of Niu Xi is usually yellow to orange in color and has a distinct fragrance.
How is Niu Xi (Huai) prepared and processed?
Achyranthes bidentata, also known as Niu Xi or Huai, is native to China and some Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar. It grows in grasslands, hillsides, and river valleys. The plant is a hardy herb with a deep root system, which can grow to be about 50-80cm tall. Its leaves are oval in shape and have a smooth surface. Its small white or yellow flowers grow on spikes at the top of the stem.
Achyranthes bidentata, also known as Niu Xi in TCM, grows best in well-drained soil with a moist and humid environment. It thrives in warm to subtropical climates and prefers partial shade to full sun exposure. It is also tolerant to some degree of drought and cold weather. Optimal growing conditions include:
Soil: well-drained, fertile, and moist soil with a pH range of 5.5-7.5
Temperature: warm to subtropical, average temperature of 20-30°C (68-86°F)
Humidity: moist and humid environment
Sun exposure: partial shade to full sun
Water: moderate, tolerates drought to some extent
Fertilization: regular fertilization with organic matter or commercial fertilizer is recommended for optimal growth and yield.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Niu Xi (Achyranthes bidentata) is typically dried first and then sliced or chopped into smaller pieces for preparation and processing after being harvested during the autumn or early winter and then dried in the sun or using low-heat artificial drying methods. t is then processed by removing impurities, such as stems and leaves, and cut into pieces of desired size.
Niu Xi (Huai) is often processed using decoction, a traditional method of extracting the medicinal properties of herbs by boiling them in water. The decoction is then strained and consumed as a tea or combined with other herbs to make a herbal formula. The dried Niu Xi can also be ground into a fine powder and encapsulated as a dietary supplement. It is important to note that processing methods may vary depending on the desired use and intended medicinal effects.
Popular Recipe for Niu Xi (Huai):
Here is a simple recipe for Niu Xi Huai decoction:
- Rinse Niu Xi Huai, Dang Gui, Bai Shao, Chuan Xiong, and Bai Zhu with clean water.
- Put the herbs into a pot and add enough water to cover them.
- Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the decoction has reduced by about half.
- Strain the decoction through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Drink the decoction warm.
This decoction is used in TCM to nourish the blood and strengthen the bones.
Safety Precautions for the use of
Niu Xi (Huai)
When using and handling Niu Xi Huai (Achyranthes bidentata), it is important to take the following precautions:
Consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using Niu Xi Huai, as it may interact with certain medications or have contraindications for certain health conditions.
Avoid using Niu Xi Huai in large doses, as it may cause adverse reactions such as gastrointestinal discomfort and skin irritation.
Avoid using Niu Xi Huai during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Keep Niu Xi Huai out of reach of children and pets.
Store Niu Xi Huai in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
If you experience any adverse reactions after using Niu Xi Huai, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.
Niu Xi Huai should be used with caution if you have a history of allergies or skin sensitivities, as it may cause skin irritation.
Niu Xi Huai should also be used with caution if you have a history of gastrointestinal conditions, as it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
Niu Xi Huai may also cause drowsiness or dizziness, so use caution if you will be driving or operating heavy machinery after consuming it.
Before using Niu Xi Huai, be aware that it may have strong and bitter flavor and may need to be mixed with other herbs or foods before consumption.
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
Niu Xi (Huai)
Common Names: Niu Xi (Huai) (Achyranthes Root); Achyranthes bidentata Blume; Achyranthis Bidentatae Radix 牛膝 (怀牛膝)
Properties: Bitter, sour, neutral
Channels Entered: Liver, Kidney