Szechuan lovage (Ligusticum striatum, syn. L. chuanxiong, Apiaceae) is a perennial herb, also known as Chuanxiong.1 Grown mainly on China's Yun-Gui-Chuan plateau, the herb can grow up to two feet in height. The fist-shaped roots and rhizomes are the part used as medicine. Small white flowers occur July through August, with fruit appearing in September. Most of the medicinal herb comes from cultivation, and gathering of the roots and rhizomes takes place in May.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Szechuan lovage is used to stimulate blood flow.2 The root has been used to treat cardiovascular ailments, menstrual issues, cysts, and clots. Considered a "warming" herb, Szechuan lovage is used for cold or yin conditions. The taste is pungent, and the herb is thought to have an effect on the gallbladder, liver, and pericardium. As these organs are also considered related to the emotions, the herb has been used to balance the emotions.
Some of the compounds found in Szechuan lovage include alkaloids, phenolic acids, essential oil, and phthalide lactones.3 Along with the traditional use for cardiovascular effects, research has focused on antioxidant abilities, neuroprotection, anti-inflammation, antifibrosis, and cerebrovascular effects.
Lori Glenn, Managing Editor
1Lovage (Chuan Xiong). Chinese Herbs Healing website. http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/lovage-chuan-xiong/. Accessed October 22, 2019.
2Chen-Bertrand J. Szechuan lovage root. Me and qi website. https://www.meandqi.com/herb-database/szechuan-lovage-root. Accessed October 22, 2019.
3Ran X, Ma L, Peng C, et al. Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort: A review of chemistry and pharmacology. Pharm Biol. November 2011;49(11):1180-9. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2011.576346.