Platycladus (Semen Platycladi; Bai Zi Ren)

TCM Herbal Story


Platycladus (Semen Platycladi; Bai Zi Ren)


Legends say that during Emperor Wu of Han dynasty’s reign, on there was a convenient passageway on Zhongnan Mountain that all goods traders and merchants would cross. One year, a rumor started to spread. The passageway was being haunted by a longhaired, black, and hairy monster that could jump across deep mountain pits, stride across the fast flowing river streams, climb tall trees, and cross hills in a motion as agile as an monkey, fast as a gazelle. As the unsettling rumor spread, the traders and merchants dared not to pass through the mountain without forming large groups of people.


As the rumors spread to the local government, the county governor suspected that the rumors were a trick that mountain thieves were using. Therefore, he ordered skilled hunters to track, surround, and exterminate the rumored monster. Who could’ve guessed that they brought back a hairy middle-aged woman?


During the court’s inquisition, the hairy woman confessed her tale. As the servant of the Chin Emperor, she fled to Zhongnan Mountain when his reign ended. Then came the cold harsh winter that starved her, as she could not find food she could eat. A white-haired sage had met her by coincidence, and taught her that platycladus and its juices were edible. At first, she found it bitter and hard to swallow, but through time, the taste started to become aromatic and sweet, leaving her palette moist, hunger and thirst free. Miraculously, her body felt light but healthy, the summers that came by did not feel as hot, and the winters became less chilling to her senses. By the time she had realized, she was over a hundred years old, but could not sense age. News that the hairy woman had lived to be over a hundred years old through eating platycladus spread, as the nation started to mimic her diet in hopes of longevity.


Platycladus is the seed of Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco of the Cupressaceae family. Its properties are sweet and neutral. It enters through the heart, kidney, large intestine, and spleen.



Actions & Indications:

  • Nourishes the heart and clams the spirit
  • Moistens the intenstines and unblocks the bowels
  • Treats night sweats caused by yin deficiency

Caution & Contradiction

  • Loose stools
  • Phlegm disorders
  • May antagonize with Flos Chrysanthemi Morifolii (Ju Hua)


The original article is from Brion Research Institute, translated by Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

For Chinese/original version, please click:

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