Xia Ku Cao – “See-Me-Not-After-Summer” or Self-heal Spike
Pharmaceutical Name: Prunellae Spica
The mother of a mayor in ancient China suffered from scrofula with a swollen neck. All the doctors said there was no cure for it.
One day, however, a herbalist came along who told the mayor that he knew of a herb that could cure the disease. The herbalist climbed a nearby mountain to pick the herb and brought it to the mayor for decoction. It indeed cured the mayor’s mother.
Prior to his departure, the herbalist told the mayor that the herb grew only during the summer and that it would be gone when the summer was over.
In the winter of the following year, the governor of the area presiding over the mayor’s district suffered from scrofula with a swollen neck. Image courtesy of Oshims Herbal Pharmacy
Eager to help, the mayor told the governor about the herb that had cured his mother. So the mayor climbed the same mountain to pick the plant, but he couldn’t find any growing there and returned home empty-handed. Naturally, the governor was terribly disappointed and the mayor felt very embarrassed.
When the herbalist returned the next summer, the mayor blamed him for failing to find the herb in winter.
“I made a point to tell you before I left that this herb cannot be found after the summer is over,” said the herbalist. And so, the herb was named “see-me-not-after-summer” to remind herbalists that it only grows during the summer.
Xia Ku Cao (literal meaning is summer withered grass) is used for liver Qi stagnation and liver fire patterns that cause formation of palpable clumps or nodules leading to such conditions as scrofula, goiter, swollen glands, headache, red swollen eyes, hypertension. It must be used with caution in those with spleen and stomach weakness.