Pseudostellaria heterophylla

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Pseudostellaria heterophylla
Scientific classification
P. heterophylla
Binomial name
Pseudostellaria heterophylla
Rupr. & Maxim.

Pseudostellaria heterophylla, known commonly as Hai Er Shen (Chinese: 孩兒參, Kid Ginseng), Tai Zi Shen (Chinese: 太子參, Prince Ginseng), and false starwort, is an adaptogen in the Caryophyllaceae family that is used in Chinese medicine and herbalism to tonify the qi and generate yin fluids. It is known as the "ginseng of the lungs". The plant is a low growing plant of the pink family that is grown in Southern China in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Shanxi.


Haiershen is a relatively recent addition to the Chung Yao Chi New Chinese Materia Medica (Chinese: 中藥劑大辭典), having been officially added in 1959, based upon local and ethnic use.[1][2] It is weaker than Panax ginseng. The herb is a mild adaptogen, demulcent, an immune tonic, nutritive, and a pectoral herb. In Chinese terms it tonifies the yin. Accordingly, the herb is restorative for lung damage due to excess heat or dryness including hot or dry asthma, pleurisy, bronchitis, bacterial pneumonia, wheezing, dry cough, and emphysema.[citation needed] Scientific research shows that this Pseudostellaria aids in protecting the mucin layer that lines the respiratory tract and functions as an immune defense system.[citation needed] In the form Li Gan Zi Shen Tang (Chinese: 理肝滋腎湯, "Regulate the Liver & Enrich the Kidneys Decoction") it is used to treat yin deficiency associated with diabetes mellitus.[3] The polysaccharide fractions have in vitro anti-tumor properties.[4] A lectin in the roots is being studied for anti HIV purposes.[5]

This is a perennial herb with tubers and solitary erect stems up to 20 centimeters tall.

The flower has 5 white petals, but some flowers are cleistogamous and lack petals.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ tai zi shen, radix psuedostellaria, Complementary and Alternative Healing University
  2. ^ David Winston & Steven Maimes. “ADAPTOGENS: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief,” Healing Arts Press, 2007.
  3. ^ Chinese Medical Diabetes - Article Archived February 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Wong, C. K.; Leung, K. N.; Fung, K. P.; Choy, Y. M. (July 1994). "The immunostimulating activities of anti-tumor Polysaccharides from Pseudostellaria heterophylla". Immunopharmacology. 28 (1): 47–54. doi:10.1016/0162-3109(94)90038-8. PMID 7928302.
  5. ^ Wang, H. X.; Ng, T. B. (June 8, 2001). "A novel lectin from Pseudostellaria heterophylla roots with sequence simularity to Kunitz-type soybean trypsin inhibitor". Life Sciences. 69 (3): 327–333. doi:10.1016/S0024-3205(01)01117-1. PMID 11441923.
  6. ^ Pseudostellaria heterophylla in Flora of China