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Eclipta prostrata

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Eclipta prostrata (Han Lian Cao)

What Is Eclipta Prostrata and What Is It Used for?

Eclipta prostrata, or Han Lian Cao, is an herb that is native to the United States and is noninvasive. The upper stem scum of flowers and leaves are used medicinally, for a variety of reasons.

Origin

Eclipta prostrata is native to the United States, and grows in over 40 states. It can grow in just about any soil type, including sand, dirt and clay. It most actively grows during the summer, achieving a full height of 3 feet, 2 inches. It's considered endangered in New York State.

What is it used for?

•It helps protect the liver

One of the most common uses and most effective for Eclipta prostrata is its ability to protect the liver from damage and to treat liver damage caused by infective hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatic enlargement. The stems and leaves contain compounds that are anti-hepatotoxic. It also assists in the healthy function of the gallbladder, spleen and kidneys.

•It's used as an antibacterial agent

It's also antibacterial, and has shown activity against bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus subtillis.

•It can be used topically as a paste

It's also topically effective against skin disorders including swelling, burns, insect bites, and other irritations.

•It can be taken internally as an extract, as a supplement, or as juice

Taken internally, the juice has shown to be anti-inflammatory and can reduce fevers, help with memory, decrease congestion in the respiratory tract, and improve joint pain. If you do take it as an extract, make sure the extract medium (alcohol, water, etc.) is safe for internal consumption.

•It promotes fast hair growth

One of its most intriguing uses is as a hair tonic -- specifically, anecdotal evidence suggests that fresh Eclipta prostrata extract can encourage hair growth.

Traditional Chinese medicine uses

Eclipta prostrata is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, said to nourish the "yin," specifically as a liver and kidney tonic. It is said to cool the blood and clear deficiency heat. Chinese medicine often uses it with lycium and ligustrum to make the immune system stronger.

Dosage

Up to 10g to 15g of the fresh leaves and stems can be taken as a dosage, with some fresh and dried leaves available at specialty stores; it's also included as an ingredient in many herbal and nutritional supplements. Some stores sell extracts that are water-based or you can grind the leaves and apply them to your skin or hair if you want to use them topically.

Are there any contraindications?

There are no current drug interactions known with Eclipta prostrata, but this is a relatively obscure herb, so take care to consult a qualified naturopath or herbalist before you take Eclipta prostrata or any preparations that include it; this is to ensure that your safety and health are always protected. Because it's relatively unknown, make sure the personnel you consult about its use are knowledgeable about it through direct experience, and not just through anecdotal evidence.

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