Notoginseng Root (Radix Notoginseng; San Qi)


TCM Herbal Story


Notoginseng Root (Radix Notoginseng; San Qi)



Long ago, there was a man named Zhang Xiao Er, who was dying due to some kind of hemorrhage disease.  Anxious to save his son’s life, Zhang’s mother found a doctor named Tian, and the doctor prescribed a herb that eventually cured the disease.  The doctor left the seed of the herb to Zhang before his departure, telling him to plant this seed as it can be used to treat hemorrhage.


Zhang planted the seed as the doctor suggested, and the herb flourished just after one year.  One day, when he heard that the governor’s daughter also suffered from hemorrhage, he dug out the herb and sent it to the governor, hoping to receive a reward in return.  However, instead of recovering from the disease like Zhang expected, the governor’s daughter died shortly after taking the herb.


The governor was furious and had his men arrested Zhang.  After series of tortures, Zhang told the governor that Tian was the one giving him this harmful medicine.  Therefore, believing that Tian was trying to make a fortune by providing useless and harmful medicine to patients, the governor also had Tian arrested.  Tian explained that this herb did have miraculous curative effect for hemorrhage diseases, but it had to be grown for at least 3 to 7 years for the herb to be effective.  Since the herb Zhang offered to the governor had only been grown for a year, it was unable to save the governor’s daughter because the herb had no medicinal value.


In order to demonstrate the effect of the herb, Tian sliced his own thigh with a knife, and his thigh started to bleed immediately.  He then grounded the herb into fine powder and took in a part of the powder, while the rest were applied onto the wound.  Miraculously, the bleeding stopped instantly and the wound started to heal.  After witnessing the sight, the governor believed Tian’s explanation and released him.  In order to prevent any future misuses of the herb, Tian named the herb “three seven”, meaning that this herb had to be grown for 3 to 7 years before it can be used as a medicine.



Notoginseng root is the root of Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F. H. Chen. Its properties are slightly and warm.  It enters through the liver, stomach, and large intestine.


Actions & Indications:

  • Stops bleeding and transforms blood stasis
  • Reduces swelling and alleviates pain


Caution & Contradiction

  • Contraindicated during pregnancy.  Use with caution in patients with blood or yin deficiency.


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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