Herb: Han Lian Cao

Latin name: Eclipta prostrata

Synonyms: Eclipta alba

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Han Lian Cao:

This species is widely used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and in Ayurveda. It is considered to be the best remedy for the hair and is also used as a rejuvenative and liver tonic. The whole plant is astringent, deobstruent, depurative, emetic, febrifuge, ophthalmic, purgative, styptic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of dropsy and liver complaints, anaemia, diphtheria etc, tinnitus, tooth loss and premature greying of the hair. Externally, it is used as an oil to treat hair loss and is also applied to athlete's foot, eczema, dermatitis, wounds etc. The plant juice, mixed with an aromatic (essential oil?), is used in the treatment of catarrhal problems and jaundice. The leaves are used in the treatment of scorpion stings. They are used as an antidote for snake bites in Korea. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use. The roots are emetic and purgative. They are applied externally as an antiseptic to ulcers and wounds, especially in cattle.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Wet places in the lowlands of Japan, especially by paddy fields.

Edible parts of Han Lian Cao:

Tender leaves and young shoots - cooked and used as a vegetable.

Other uses of the herb:

A black dye is obtained from the plant. It is used as a hair dye and for tattooing.

Propagation of Han Lian Cao:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some extra protection, such as a cloche, until they are established and growing away well.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet places in the lowlands of Japan, especially by paddy fields.

Known hazards of Eclipta prostrata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.