Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae)

What Is Lian Qiao

Lian Qiao also known as Fructus Forsythiae is the fruit of Forsythia suspensa, which is a deciduous shrub belonging to the family Oleaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (around 100 BCE).

This plant is hardy and drought-tolerant, and it likes light, warm and humid environments. They can grow well in neutral, slightly acid or alkaline soils.

They often grow on hillsides, shrubs, under forests, grasses, or sparse forests at an altitude of 250-2,200 meters. They can be found in Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, western Anhui, Henan, Hubei, and Sichuan.

Forsythia suspensa

In autumn each year, people gather the first ripe fruits and ripe fruits of Forsythia suspensa, remove their impurities, steam them, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines. The first ripe fruit is called Qing Qiao, and the ripe fruit is called Lao Qiao or Huang Qiao.

Lian Qiao contains forsythol, isoforsythiaside, forsythiaside A-J, calceolarioside A, plantainoside A, suspensaside A, suspensaside B, salidroside, phillyrin, phillygenin, isoolivil, forsythialan A, forsythialan B, adoxosidic acid, oleanic acid, ursolic acid, 2α, 23-hydroxyursolic acid, benzyl alcohol xylopyranosyl-(1-6)-glucopyranoside, acetyl oleanolic acid, β-amyrin acetate, asiatic acid, esculentic acid, methyl-β-D-glucopyranose, betulinic acid, quercetin, isoquercetin, luteoloside, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, rutin, hesperidin, luteolin, hyperoside, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, gallic acid, p-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, vanillic acid, succinic acid, daucosterol, β-sitosterol, 20ε-deoxycholic acid and volatile oils.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal nature of Lian Qiao is relatively cold, with a bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, heart, and small intestine meridians.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is often used to clear heat and remove toxins, alleviate swelling and dissipate indurated mass, dispel wind and heat, treat acute respiratory infections, pyogenic skin infections, psoriasis, lung abscess, cervical lymphatic tuberculosis, acute infectious hepatitis, allergic purpura, and acute nephritis.

There are about 300 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Yin Qiao San, Lianhua Qingwen capsule, and Shuang Huang Lian.


  • Anti-inflammation, reducing rat foot swelling induced by carrageenan or egg white.
  • Anti-oxidation, scavenging hydroxyl free radicals and superoxide anion free radicals.
  • Reducing blood vessel permeability and fragility, preventing hemolysis.
  • Reducing the damage of CCL4 to liver tissue and protecting the liver.
  • Inhibiting Asian influenza A virus, parainfluenza type I, Coxsackie virus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.
  • Alleviating swelling and dissipating nodulation, treating skin redness, sores, and abscesses.
  • Clearing Liver and reducing phlegm, treating scrofula and subcutaneous nodules caused by stagnation of phlegm-fire.
  • Dispelling wind and heat, treating fever, headache, thirst, and sore throat caused by wind-heat or warm diseases.
  • Treating high fever and unconsciousness caused by heat attacking pericardium.
  • Treating irritability, bright red tongue, unconsciousness, and macules caused by heat entering nutrient-blood.
  • Inducing diuresis, relieving difficult and painful urination.
  • Inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, and Leptospira.
  • Studies have found that phillygenin has a certain inhibitory effect on the growth of human gastric cancer cell line SGC7901.


Side Effects

  • It has been reported that the intraperitoneal injection of its decoction may induce abnormal sperm in animals.
  • Patients with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach may cause dizziness, headache, or fatigue when taking it.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Lian Qiao should be controlled at 6-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, pills, or powder.
  • The first ripe Lian Qiao is recommended for clearing heat and removing toxins, and the ripe Lian Qiao is recommended for dispelling wind and heat.
  • Its seeds are recommended for purging heart fire.
  • People who are allergic to Lian Qiao should not take it.
  • It should not be taken at the same time with drugs containing lactase production, bacteriostatic growth, spironolactone, or vitamin C.
  • Patients with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Patients with thin pus caused by qi deficiency should not take it.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take it.