Xuan Shen Herb (Scrophularia Root, Ningpo Figwort Root)
Scrophularia ningpoensiis Hemsl.; Radix Scrophulariae 玄参, Black Figwort Root, Chinese Figwort
Bitter, Sweet, Salty, Cold
Lung, Stomach, Kidney, Liver
Removes Heat, Moistens Dryness, Nourishes Yin, Relieves Toxicity, Yin Tonic, Fever Reducer, Cools Blood
Used primarily to aid the cardiovascular system, Scrophularia Root can also be used for swollen throat and throat pain. The name Scrophularia comes from "scrofula" a type of tuberculosis that impacts neck lymph nodes, to which it can be used as a remedy. Chinese Figwort is also great for easing swollen tonsils and resolving neck lumps. Some of the most common herbs used in combination with Xuan Shen are Mu Dan Pi, Jie Geng, Can Zhu, Jin Yin Hua, and Lian Qiao. These combinations expedite the healing effects of the Xuan Shen herb for rashes, throat swelling, lowering glucose levels, and sores respectively. Xuan Shen should not be used in combination with Huang Qi, Da Zao, or Gan Jiang. Those who use antidiabetics such as sulfonylureas and insulin should be cautious when using Xuan Shen, as it could lead to hypoglycemia. Compared to Xuan Shen, Sheng Di Huang is a stronger Blood cooler and is more effective at stopping bleeding.
Grown commonly in Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces of China, Xuan Shen grows on a long branch, with tear-shaped leaves. After the plant and flower die in the winter, the root is harvested and used medicinally after it has been dried. Often Scrophularia Root is dry-fried in salt to better benefit the Yin. Afterward, the whole herb is often powdered or turned into extracts. When using the Xuan Shen herb, brass or iron utensils should not be used for handing or storage.