Tu Si Zi

Semen Cuscutae, Cuscuta


6-15g of decoction of the herb is for oral usage.

Chemical Composition

Neo-sesamin; Astragalin; Hyperin; Kaempferol; Quercetin; Palmitic acid; Stearic acid; b-sitosterol; Daucosterol; Glycosides; Lacceroic acid; p-hydoxyl cinnamic acid; b-sitosterol-3-D-b-O-xylopyranoside; Kaempferol-3-O-b-D-glucopyranoside; Caffeic acid-b-D-glucose ester glycosids; Quercetin-3-O-b-galactose-7-O-b-glucoside; Thymidine deoxyribonucleoside caffeic acid. (1) , (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) , (6)


Contraindications: hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency, excess of yang, and constipation.


Protecting the liver

Administered to mice by gastric gavage, Tu Si Zi can protect the subjects from CCl4-induced liver damages, decreasing the levels of SGPT, lactic acid and pyruvic acid in the serum. (7)

Effects on the sexual function and on the reproductive system

Administered to mice, alcohol-based extract of Tu Si Zi can significantly promote the development of the subjects’ testes and epididymides. Acting like a thyrotropin, in-vitro experiments show, Tu Si Zi can promote the interstitial basic secretion of testosterone and the stimulated secretion of human chorionic gonadotropin. (8) In rats with deficient ovaries, it can promote endometrial hyperplasia, enhance the expression of estrin receptors and progestogen receptors, inhibit the expression of IL-2 receptors in ovarian and womb interstitial cells, and increase the level of pregnendione in the serum. (9) It can also promote in-vitro the motor capacity of human sperms and the membrane function. Hence, it is beneficial to the treatment of male infertility, and conducive to raising the success rate of artificial insemination. (10) Tu Si Zi is also shown to increase the weight of sex organs in rats. (11)

Protecting brain tissues

Fed to rats, Wu Tu Granules (a formula of which Tu Si Zi is the main ingredient) can increase the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and lower the level of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) in the subjects’ brain tissues. Taken as a preventive measure, the formula can reduce the release of cerebral exitatory amino acids in rats. Administered to mice, the formula is shown to enhance the subjects’ memory. (12) , (13)

Effects on immunity

Administered to mice of yang deficiency, Tu Si Zi can significantly improve the transformation function of the spleen cells’ T- and B-lymphocytes. (14) Depending on the dose and the concentration level, Tu Si Zi’s water-based extract both promotes and inhibits lymphocyte transformation. Tu Si Zi regulates the production of IL-2 in a bi-directional manner. (15)

Counteracting cataract

In cataract lens, the activity of aldose reductase is significantly heightened, while the activities of polybasic alcohol dehydrogenase, hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and catalase are significantly lowered. If, however, Tu Si Zi decoction is administered at the same time as galactose is injected, the increase in the activity of aldose reductase can be checked, and the activities of the other four enzymes returned to within the normal range. (16)

Anti-aging effects

Administered to senile mice, Tu Si Zi can increase the activity of superoxide dismutase in the subjects’ erythrocyte membrane, decrease the level of lipid peroxides in the serum and the level of cerebral lipofuscin, and decrease the activity of monoamine oxidase B in the liver. (17)

Other effects

Administered at large doses, EOA-1, a component of Tu Si Zi, can significantly increase the survival rate and the average survival time of transplanted low temperature-stored hearts of suckling mice. (18) Tu Si Zi can also enhance the activity of superoxide dismutase in the erythrocyte membrane of diabetic patients, and lower the level of lipid peroxides in the serum. (19) Administered to mice, Tu Si Zi can significantly increase the activities of Na+, K+-ATPase. (20) And finally, Tu Si Zi can significantly inhibit cyclophosphamide-induced formation of marrow cell micronuclei in mice. (21)


  1. Wang Zhan, et al. The chemical composition of Tu Si Zi. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1998;29(9):577-579.
  2. Jin Xiao, et al. The flavones of Tu Si Zi. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1992;17(5):292-294.
  3. Ye Ping. The chemical compositions of cuscuta chinensis and cuscuta japonica. Journal of Chinese Patented Medicine. 1992;14(3):36-37.
  4. Guo Hong Zhu, et al. The flavones of southern Tu Si Zi. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1997;22(1):38-39.
  5. Guo Cheng, et al. The chemical composition of southern Tu Si Zi. China Journal of Pharmacy. 1997;3291):8-11.
  6. Li Geng Sheng, et al. The chemical composition of southern Tu Si Zi. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1997;22(9):548-550.
  7. Guo Cheng, et al. Tu Si Zi’s liver-protective effects. Journal of Shizhen Medicinal Material Research, 1992;3(2):62-64.
  8. Xiong Yao Cheng, et al. The effects of Yin Yang Huo and Tu Si Zi on the male reproductive function. China Journal of Pharmacy. 1994;29(2):89-91.
  9. Chen Ya Qiong, et al. Kidney-invigorating Chinese herbs’ effect on the gonadal morphology and function of female rats. Journal of Fourth Military Medical College. 1995;16(4):304.
  10. Peng Shou Jing, et al. Tu Si Zi, Xian Mao, and Ba Ji Tian’s effects on human sperms’ in vitro mobility and membrane function. China Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1997;17(3):145-147.
  11. Cai Wen Juan, et al. Several invigorating Chinese herbs’ effects on the weight of male rats’ pituitary gland. Journal of Hebei Medical College. 1991;12(3);143-145.
  12. Hu Sui Yu, et al. The primary pharmcodynamics of Wu Tu Granules. Journal of New Chinese Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology. 1999;10(2):76-78.
  13. Li Ju, et al. Wu Tu Granules’ effects on the levels of amino acids in rats and sea horses. Journal of Hunan University of Medicine. 1997;8(6):515.
  14. Guo Cheng, et al. Tu Si Zi’s effect on the lymphocyte transformation in rats. Journal of Shizhen Medicinal Material Research. 1997;8(6):515.
  15. Li Geng Sheng, et al. The immunological activity of Tu Si Zi’s water-soluable components. China Journal of TCM Science and Technology. 1997;4(4):256-258.
  16. Yang Tao, et al. Four Chinese Herbs’ effect on lactose cataract-related enzymes. Journal of Biochemistry. 1991;7(6):31-736.
  17. Guo Jun, et al. Tu Si Zi’s anti-aging effects. China Journal of Geriatrics. 1996;16(1):37-38.
  18. Fan Yong Ping, et al. EOA-1’s effect on suckling mice’s in vitro heart maintenance and retroauricular transplant survival. Journal of Beijing TCMl University. 1996;19(6):65-66.
  19. Guo Jun, et al. Tu Si Zi’s efect on anti-oxidation in diabetes patients. Journal of Jiamusi Medical College. 1997;20(1);39-41.
  20. Ding An Rong, et al. Huang Jin and five other herbs’ effect on the activities of Ka+, K+-ATPase in mice’s red blood cell membrane. Journal of Chinese Patented Medicine. 1990;12(9):28.
  21. Wu Mei Juan, et al. Tu Si Zi’s suppressive effects on cyclophosphamide-induced marrow micronuclei. Journal of Tiajing College of TCM. 1999;18(4):41-42.