San Qi Hua is the flower of Tian Qi (aka Panax Notoginseng).The aroma of dried San Qi Flower is quite pleasant and reminds us of cacao powder. The San Qi Flower brewed as tea is quite pleasant, with a balance of bitter, sweet and Ginseng spiciness. It goes well with other teas like Ripe Pu-erh, Raw Pu-erh and Black tea as well.
Tienchi ginseng, also called Panax notoginseng in English and San Qi in Mandarin, has long been used as a Chinese herb that is with magical medicinal value. What’s your first reaction when you hear that name? Anyway, it is quite natural that if you associate it with Korean ginseng and the like. Tell you the truth, as a species in genus Panax it does have something to do with Panax ginseng root (Ren Shen). Hence, it is also known as pseudo ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng). We cannot praise this herb too much since all notoginseng root, flower, and leaf can be used as medicine for a number of ailments like severe hepatitis, coronary heart disease, and more. The reason for the name San Qi, literally “three seven”, is twofold: its roots will be dug out 3 to 7 years after the sowing, plus each plant has 3 leaf petioles and each petiole has 7 blades. And because many of them are now cultivated in the field, it is also called Tian Qi, meaning “field sever.” What’s more, thanks to the fact that it contains more effective active substances than ginseng does, it is also labeled as “King of ginsengs” by modern TCM pharmacologists.
What is Tienchi ginseng?
When particularly used as a medicine, it refers to the dried root of Panax notoginseng (Burk) F. H. Chen (PNG). Along with ginseng, this is a species belonging to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae. Because of its amazing medicinal uses on checking bleeding, people have given it quite a few different names, such as Tianqi, pseudoginseng root, Sanqi, Nepal ginseng, Sanchi, three-seven root, Himalayan ginseng, mountain paint, Radix Notoginseng, and more. In China it is mainly produced in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces. It is usually dug out in late summer early autumn before the bloom time or in winter after the seeds mature. Based on the different collecting seasons, it can also be divided into “Chun Qi” (Spring Seven) and “Dong Qi” (winter seven). Before used to treat medical problems, it still needs to remove dirt, clean, and dry in the sun. And it is normally used raw or ground.
Panax notoginseng is a perennial herb. Bamboo-root-like rhizome is short, crosswise, and with 2 or more than 2 fleshy roots that is cylindrical, about 2 to 4cm long, and about 1cm in diameter, and with longitudinal wrinkles when dried. Solitary stem is about 40cm in height, glabrous, with vertical stripes and base with persistent scales. 4 palmately compound leaves forming one whorl at the top of stem. Single umbel is acrogenous, about 3.5cm in diameter, and with 20 to 50 flowers; peduncle is about 12cm in length, hairless, and with vertical stripes; pedicels is slender, hairless, and about 1cm long; bracts are unconspicuous; flowers are yellow-green; cuppy calyx, male calyx being top-shaped, is with edge that has 5 triangular teeth; petals are 5; stamens are 5; ovary is with 2 rooms; styles are 2 (but the pistillode in male flowers is 1), free, and anaclastic. No fruits are found. Habitats are confined to a narrow zone that is near latitude 23.5° and 1,500 to 1800 meters above sea level in southwest China. The wild species are rare and now most of them are cultivated.
Panax notoginseng root contains Arasaponin A (C30H52O10) and Arasaponin B (C23H38O10), which can generate sapogenin A and sapogenin B respectively after the hydrolysis. Separately, recent research reportedly says that it contains 5 kinds of triterpenoid saponins, whose sapogenin are Panaxadiol, Panaxatriol, and so on. In addition to saponins, it still contains alkaloids and glycosides. Its leaves contain saponins. After the hydrolysis, more Panaxadiol sapogenins are found and oleanolic acid can be obviously detected, but Panaxatriol content is rare.
Tienchi ginseng benefits
As a native produce to Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, it is one of the earliest medicinal and edible plants. Since ancient times it has been recognized as one of the best herbs to promote blood circulation to remove blood stasis, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Thanks for that amazing healing properties, it enjoys a high reputation and people used to call it “more precious than gold” and “miraculous grass from Southland.”
It is more than just a hemostatic herb. As a matter of fact, it also generates and invigorates blood. In the past it was once considered such a priceless drug that no one was willing to exchange it even for gold. Today it becomes one of favorite tonic. Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi (Supplements to Compendium of Materia Medica), a famous medical work written in Qing Dynasty, had ever given a good review on this herb, “Panax ginseng is the No.1 pick on tonifying Qi while Panax notoginseng is the second-to-none choice on enriching the blood. Because of the same flavor and healing properties, it is thus called Tienchi ginseng, which is the most precious one in all Chinese herbs.”
And here is the fact you probably don’t know – Yunnan Baiyao and Pien Tze Huang, the most popular medicines used in surgery and traumatology departments, are based on the ingredient notoginseng. Therefore, it is widely used for a range of different diseases, such as upper gastrointestinal bleeding, hyphema, cerebral thrombosis, hyperlipidemia, sequelae of concussion, prostatic hypertrophy, bed sores, severe hepatitis, coronary heart disease, lung disease, keloids, postoperative adhesions, hemorrhoids, and more.
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