Gu Jing Cao (Pipewort or Eriocaulon Buergerianum)

What Is Gu Jing Cao

Gu Jing Cao is also known as Pipewort or Eriocaulon Buergerianum, which is an annual herb belonging to the family Eriocaulaceae. It initially appeared in <Kaibao Bencao> (Materia Medica of the Kaibao Period) around 974 AD.

There are about 400 species of pipewort, which are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. They are marsh or dilute aquatic monocotyledonous flowering plants. Among them, the most common and economically valuable ones are Eriocaulon Buergerianum and Eriocaulon australe.

Eriocaulon Buergerianum likes a warm and humid climate. They can grow well in wet places such as ponds, streams, and paddy fields. They are distributed in China and Japan.


In the autumn of each year, people gather the flower head with a stalk of Eriocaulon Buergerianum, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, cut them into segments, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Gu Jing Cao contains plebeia, nepetin, jaceosidin, patuletin, quercetin, hispidulin, γ-tocopheryl acetate, rutin, glycosides, genicides, naphthopyranoes, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, emodin, β-sitosterol, β-daucosterol, stigmasterol, and volatile oil.

Generally, grayish-white Gu Jing Cao with yellowish-green and short stems and no impurities is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Gu Jing Cao is relatively neutral, with a pungent and sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of liver and lung meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to dispel wind and heat, improve vision, and treat pediatric malnutrition, cataracts, viral keratitis, uveitis, epidemic conjunctivitis, night blindness, retinochoroiditis, nasosinusitis, angioneurotic headache, photophobia, nebula, redness, swelling, and pain of eyes, toothache, and headache caused by wind-heat.


  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging superoxide anion free radicals, hydroxyl free radicals, and DPPH free radicals.
  • Inhibiting the activity of α-glucosidase and reducing blood sugar levels after meals.
  • Inhibiting the growth of human lung adenocarcinoma cells A549, human breast cancer cells MCF-7 and human cervical cancer HeLa cells.
  • Treating redness, swelling, and pain of eyes, photophobia, and nebula caused by wind-heat attacking the upper.
  • Dispelling wind and heat, treating headache and toothache caused by wind-heat.
  • Its lotion can treat tinea versicolor caused by Malassezia.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pneumococcus, Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Typhoid bacillus.
  • Studies have found that its alcohol extract can inhibit 6-OHDA-induced cell apoptosis and dopamine neuron reduction, and has a protective effect on 6-OHDA-induced PC12 cell damage.


Side Effects

At present, no reports have been found to show that Gu Jing Cao is toxic, and no data have been found to show that it can cause adverse reactions when used in regular doses.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Gu Jing Cao should be controlled between 5-10g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, powders, lotions, or ointments.
  • It is not recommended to decoct in iron containers.
  • People who are allergic to Gu Jing Cao should not take it.
  • People with eye diseases caused by blood deficiency should not take it.