These capsules are traditionally used for softening and crushing gallstones. It is often used to prepare for a liver/gallbladder flush, to alleviate gallstone-related pain, and to make the gallstones easier to pass by reducing and lubricating them.
Ingredients: Gold Coin Grass, Bupleurum, Rhubarb, Qing Pi, Zhi-Shi
Other Ingredients: Rice flour, hypromellose (vegetable capsule), maltodextrin, silica
Area of effect: the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and urinary bladder. GCG is normally used to treat and prevent kidney stones and gallstones.
Directions: take 1 tablespoon (about 15 mL) once daily on an empty stomach, 20 to 30 minutes before breakfast.
The primary ingredient of GCG is Gold Coin Grass, which is a literal translation of the Chinese name Jin Qian Cao. This herb is also known as Lysimachiae Herba or Herba Desmodii Styrachifolii. In Chinese medicine, it is traditionally used to prevent and expel gallbladder stones and kidney stones. Japanese researchers partially substantiated this traditional use in a 1993 scientific study. It is also used topically, to treat skin sores, lesions, and snake bites. For the gallbladder flush, it is used to prepare by softening and crushing the gallstones.
The secondary ingredient of GCG is Bupleurum, also known as Chai Hu or Bupleuri Radix. The literal English translation of the name is "Twigs of the Barbarians". According to medical research, this herb may stimulate immune system function. In Chinese medicine, it is considered a "cooling" herb and is used to treat flu and fever, and is said to decongest the liver, so it is often used to treat womens' problems such as irregular menstruation.
The remaining ingredients (Rhubarb, Qing Pi, and Zhi Shi) all serve a similar function in Chinese medicine: to promote "downward movement", which helps to eliminate waste or expelled stones.
Contraindications and Side Effects
For Jin Qian Cao, in rare cases and with very high dosages (30-60g), allergic reactions such as rashes have been reported. There have also been reports of use leading to a decrease in white blood-cell count, which returns to normal after discontinuation of use. Note that the dosage of jin qian cao in GCG tincture is less than 2g per dose.
In rare cases, allergic reactions such as rash and headache have been reported. Bupleurum has also been associated with an increase in bowel movements and flatulence. Because it may stimulate your immune system, it is not recommended if you are taking medications to depress your immune system (such as the immuno-depressant drugs which are normally administered after an organ transplant operation).
- While GCG can be taken simultaneously with Chinese Bitters, this combination puts extra strain on your body and results will vary from person to person. If your body does not react well, you will experience side-effects such as headaches or discomfort on your right side. If this happens, stop taking them at the same time (meaning that you should not take Bitters on the same day that you take GCG).
- Avoid use when pregnant or lactating.
- Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica 3rd Edition, D Bensky & S Clavey & E Stöger, Eastland Press 2004, pp303-306.
- Ibid, pp.73-78.
- "Effect of Desmodium Styracifolium-Triterpenoid on calcium oxalate renal stones", British Journal of Urology, 1993 Feb;71(2):143-7.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, Stockton California, 2009.