Ligustrum (Fructus Ligustri lucidi; Nu Zhen Zi)


TCM Herbal Story


Ligustrum (Fructus Ligustri lucidi; Nu Zhen Zi) 

According to legend, during the Qin and Han dynasty, there was a landlord in Lin An (now Hang Zhou) who had a beautiful and talented daughter.  By the time his daughter turned 28, the landlord betrothed his daugher to the governor, believing that this marriage will bring him riches and status.  However, his daughter was already in love with her teacher, and killed herself at the day of wedding because she didn’t want to marry anyone else.  After hearing this tragic news, the teacher was so stricken with grief that he had become very depressed, growing skinnier each day, with hair turning to white.

After several years, the teacher decided to pay a visit to the grave of the landlord’s daughter to mourn.  He was surprised to find a lush Ligustrum tree growing from the grave, and is filled with glossy black fruits.  The teacher ate a few of these sweet and bitter fruits from the tree and felt refreshed instantly.  Therefore, he came to the grave for the fruit everyday from this day on.  Miraculously, his health steadily improved and hair also started to turn black after a while.  Later on, the fruit began to be used as a medicine.


Ligustrum is the root of Ligustrum lucidum Ait. Its properties are bitter, sweet, and neutral.  It enters through the kidney and liver.



Actions & Indications:

  • Nourishes and tonifies the Liver and Kidneys
  • Augments the Liver and Kidneys and clears heat from deficiency
  • Augments the Liver and Kidneys and improves vision

Caution & Contradiction

  • Contraindicated in cases of yang deficiency or diarrhea due to cold from deficiency of the Spleen.


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

For Chinese/original version, please go to:

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