Plum Dragon Herbs

Shen Jin Cao (Japanese Clubmoss)


Shen Jin Cao (Hedyotis Diffusa) is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It is classified as a cooling herb and is commonly used to clear heat, remove toxins, and promote wound healing. Literally meaning “Stretch the Tendon Herb”, Shen Jin Cao is used to dispel wind-damp and relax tendons and sinews. Shen Jin Cao is also beneficial for trauma-related purposes. The aerial parts of the plant, including the leaves and stems, are used for medicinal purposes and are believed to have the following properties and characteristics:

  • Clears heat: May help to alleviate symptoms of heat-related disorders, such as fever and skin rashes.

  • Removes toxins: May help to eliminate toxins from the body and support overall health.

  • Promotes wound healing: May help to speed up the healing process of wounds and improve skin health.

In TCM, Shen Jin Cao is commonly combined with other herbs to enhance its effectiveness and treat a variety of health conditions, such as skin infections, digestive issues, and respiratory infections. It is typically administered in the form of decoction, powder, or pill. It is considered safe for most individuals, but it is advisable to consult a licensed healthcare provider before using this herb, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a medical condition.

High-Quality Shen Jin Cao: What does it look like?

Dried Japanese Clubmoss, also known as Huperzia serrata, is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb used to treat a variety of health conditions. High-quality dried Japanese Clubmoss should have the following characteristics:

  • Appearance: Shen Jin Cao should be a uniform greenish-brown color, with no yellowing or discoloration. The stems should be intact and not broken or fragmented.

  • Fragrance: Shen Jin Cao should have a mild, earthy fragrance that is typical of the fresh herb.

  • Weight: Dried Shen Jin Cao should be lightweight but not overly dry or brittle.

  • Texture: The texture of Shen Jin Caoshould be crisp, not mushy or wilted.

In conclusion, when looking for high-quality dried Japanese Clubmoss, make sure it is a uniform greenish-brown color, with a mild, earthy fragrance, and a crisp texture. These characteristics will ensure that you are getting a high-quality product that will be effective in treating your health conditions.

How is Shen Jin Cao prepared and processed?

Japanese Clubmoss, also known as Huperzia serrata, is native to East Asia, specifically China, Japan, and Korea. It grows in a variety of habitats, including mountainous areas, forests, and rocky cliffs. The optimal growing conditions for this plant include a moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.  Japanese Clubmoss prefers partial shade, and should be protected from direct sunlight.  Further, a moist and humid environment is preferred, with temperatures between 5°C and 20°C.  However, Japanese Clubmoss can tolerate dry conditions as well. This plant should be watered regularly, but not excessively, to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged.

For use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Shen Jin Cao (Japanese Clubmoss) is dried and prepared in the following way.  First, Shen Jin Cao is harvested during the summer and autumn months when the stems are at their peak of maturity. The stems should be harvested just before the plant flowers. After harvesting, the stems are thoroughly washed and then dried in the sun or in a well-ventilated area. The drying process should take place quickly to prevent any spoilage or decay. After drying, the stems are sorted based on quality and thickness. The best stems are selected for use in TCM.

The dried stems of Shen Jin Cao are then processed by removing the leaves and roots, and cutting the stems into smaller pieces. This is done to make the herb easier to use and to increase the surface area for faster and more efficient extraction of the active compounds. After processing, the Japanese Clubmoss is stored in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage or decay.

Popular Recipe for Shen Jin Cao

One way to utilize Shen Jin Cao and extract its medicinal properties is in a decoction. Here is a simple recipe for a Shen Jin Cao decoction:


  • 3-5 grams of dried Shen Jin Cao
  • 500 ml of water


  1. Rinse the dried Shen Jin Cao with water.
  2. In a pot, bring the water to a boil.
  3. Add the rinsed Shen Jin Cao to the boiling water.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Strain the decoction into a cup.
  6. Drink the decoction while it is still warm.

Note: It is always advisable to consult a qualified traditional Chinese medicine practitioner before using any TCM herb, including Shen Jin Cao, to determine the appropriate dosage and treatment plan for your specific condition.

Safety Precautions for the use of Shen Jin Cao

When using Shen Jin Cao, it is important to take the following precautions:

  1. Consult a practitioner: Before using Shen Jin Cao, it is advisable to consult a qualified traditional Chinese medicine practitioner to determine the appropriate dosage and treatment plan for your specific condition.

  2. Dosage: Overdosing on Shen Jin Cao can cause adverse effects. It is important to follow the recommended dosage as prescribed by a practitioner.

  3. Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to Shen Jin Cao. If you experience any allergic reactions such as itching, swelling, or shortness of breath, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention.

  4. Interactions with other medications: Shen Jin Cao may interact with other medications. If you are taking any prescription medications, it is important to inform your practitioner and seek their advice before using Shen Jin Cao.

  5. Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Shen Jin Cao is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

In conclusion, it is important to be cautious when using Shen Jin Cao, and to seek the advice of a qualified practitioner to determine the appropriate dosage and treatment plan for your specific condition.

Note: 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 Shen Jin Cao

Common Names: Shen Jin Cao (Japanese Clubmoss); Lycopodium Clavatum; Lycopodii Herba

Properties: Bitter, acrid, warm

Channels Entered: Liver 

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