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Xia ku cao used in Chinese medicine, United Kingdom, 2005

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Known in Chinese as Xia ku cao, the plant Spica prunellae vulgaris is used in Chinese medicine to treat redness, swelling and eye complaints. The bitter tasting plant is administered with the intent of targeting the liver and the lungs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the taste of a herb or plant is thought to indicate its use. Xia ku cao is also used with other ingredients to treat a wide range of conditions. The package was purchased in London from Beijing Tong Ren Tang, a maker of Traditional Chinese Medicines.

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    Glossary: Traditional Chinese Medicine

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical tradition originating in China, but now used worldwide. Treatments include herbal medicine, massage and acupuncture, which are combined to create a therapy tailored to the patient.

    Glossary: herbal medicine

    the use of plant or plant extracts for medicinal purposes in order to improve the body's natural functions and restore balance. Herbal medicines are given in many forms (liquids, infusions, tablets, topical preparations, etc.) and form part of an increasing number of complementary medical therapies