Xia Ku Cao

Spika Prunellae, Prunella


The decoction can be orally taken at a dosage of 6-15g and large dosages up to 30g.


Experiments show that at 10g/kg, Xia Ku Cao does not cause death to mice. Subacute toxicity tests on rats and dogs indicate that the herb does not affect their hemogram, nor does it harm the functions of the liver the kidney, or other vital internal organs. Ames test shows that the herb does not cause mutation.

Chemical Composition

Oleanolic acid (I); b-amyrin (II); Stigmasterol-7; 22-diene-3-ketone (III); a-Spinasterol (IV); b-sitosterol (V); Daucosterol (VI); 1.8-cineole; b-pinene; Myrcene; Linalool acetate; a-phellandrene; Linalool; Ursolic acid (II); Quercetin (VI); Quercetin-3-o-b-D-galactoside (V); Oleanane-12- alkene- 3b; Oleanane-12-alkene-28-aldehyde- 3b-hydroxy (VII); Vulgarsaponin B (VI), (III), (V); Ursaane-12- alkene-28-aldehyde-3a-hydroxy (VIII); 28-dihydroxy (IX) and ursaane-12- alkene-3b; 28-dihydroxy (X), IV, VII, VIII, IX and X; 2a, 3a-hydroxyuvaol-12- alkene-28- acid (III); 3b, 16a, 24-trihydroxyoleanane-12-alkene-28-acid-3-o-(6-butyryl)- b-D-glucopyraoside (I). (1) , (2) , (3)


There have been reports of allergic reactions when the herb is used alone. (4) , (5)


Effects on acute cardiac infarction and the blood pressure

Administered by abdominal injection to anesthetic rats, prunellin (PVS), an extract of Xia Ku Cao can significantly decrease Ig pvc, Ig (VT+VF) and arrhythmia. Four hours after the ligation of the coronary artery, administering PVS to anesthetic rats at 20mg/kg reduced the affected area of cardiac infarction and scope of the area of cardiac infarction to shrink compared to the contrast group. Administered by IV injection at 2.5mg/kg, PVS can significantly decrease both the diastolic and the systolic pressures in anesthetic rats. (6)

Reducing blood sugar

Alcohol-based extracts of Xia Ku Cao can reduce the level of blood sugar in normal mice (0.5g/kg, ig) as well as in mice of alloxan-induced diabetes (0.5, 0.25g/kg/d, ig). They can also counteract adrenalin-induced blood sugar increase, improve glucose tolerance, and increase the synthesis of hepatic glycogen (0.5, 0.25g/kg, ig). (7)

Effects on bone marrow normoblast

Research has found that Xia Ku Cao with white flowers has some effect on the bone marrow normoblast in animals of low-oxygen environments; it can stabilize the fluctuation of normoblast blood islands. (8)

Effects on blood rheology

Experiments show that Xia Ku Cao has the effect of improving some indexes of blood rheology. (9)

Effects on the thymus, the spleen and the adrenal glands

Subcutaneous injection of Xia Ku Cao can significantly shrink animals thymus and spleen glands, and enlarge their adrenal glands. Furthermore, administered by abdominal injection, it can significantly raise the level of plasma cortisol. (10)


  1. Meng Zheng Mu, et al. Journal of University of Pharmay of China. 1995;26(6):329-331.
  2. Wang Zhu Quan, et al. Journal of Pharmacy. 1999;34(9):679-681.
  3. Yang Lu Jia, et al. Journal of Medicine Analysis. 1998;8(5):264-266.
  4. Xia Shi Jing. Sichuan Journal of TCM. 1992;10(11):53.
  5. Dong Han Liang. Guangxi Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1982;(5):38.
  6. Wang Hai Pu, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1996;17(11):32-33.
  7. Liu Bao Lin, et al. Journal of University of Pharmacy of China. 1995;26(1):44-46.
  8. Wang Suo An, et al. Jiangsu Journal of TCM. 1996;17(11):32-33.
  9. Chen Wen Mei, et al. Journal of Beijing Medical University. 1997;20(3):39-41.
  10. Jiang Yan, et al. Gansu Journal of TCM. 1988;7(4):4-7.