Herbal Exhibition
Semen Vaccariae
Cowherb Seed


The mature seed of Vaccaria segetalis (Neck.) Garcke (Fam. Caryophyllaceae).

Mainly in Chinese provinces such as Jiangsu, Hebei, Henan and Shaanxi.

Harvest & Processing
Harvest plants in summer when fruits are mature but pericarp has not yet dehisced (split at maturity); dry fruits under the sun; thresh to get seeds; remove foreign matter; dry under the sun again.

Spherical; about 2 mm in diameter. Outer surface black, a few immature ones brownish-red; slightly lustrous. Evenly distributed granular protuberances visible on testa surface under magnification; hilum suborbicular (almost round) and dented, with a shallow taenioid (ribbon-like) groove on one side. Hard; milkywhite endosperms exposed when cracked open; embryo curved like a ring; cotyledons 2. Odourless; taste: mild.

1. Acute mastitis, insufficient lactation, galactostasis
2. Dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, dystocia
3. Carbuncle
4. Stranguria with haematuria.

Chemical Composition
Mainly contains vacsegoside A, B, C, D and flavonoid glycosides.



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The information and images in this Online Herbal Exhibition is form the book, "An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica in Hong Kong", edited by Professor Zhao Zhongzhen, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University. For the complete collection of Chinese Materia Medica compiled by Professor Zhao, please go to this website: http://www.bucmm.org.

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