Bu Gu Zhi (botanical name Psoralea corylifolia) is an annual plant in the “Pea family” native to Asia where it often grows as a common weed. It is known as the “Scruffy Pea”. The plant reaches a height of about 2 feet producing yellow clover-like flowers from spring to the summer followed by short black pods containing yellow-black seeds. Bu Gu Zhi is cultivated in China for its medicinal use. The tiny seeds (with pods) of the plant are used in Chinese medicine as a kidney yang tonic to improve general vitality and treat conditions such as urinary complaints and impotence. The seeds have also been used with very good success to treat alopecia (hair loss). Modern research has shown that the seed can encourage the production of new skin pigment and that it is of value in the treatment of various skin disorders, including vitiligo and psoriasis. Both internal and external use causes the skin to produce new pigment, especially after exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light. When applied externally, it can cause some temporary photosensitivity.
It also has antibacterial properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of the tuberculosis-causing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is extremely good for the lungs and is quite useful in asthma especially when there is wheezing. It combines well with Schizandrae for this.
In Chinese Bu Gu Zhi means “tonify bone resin”. Because Bu Gu Zhi promotes bone calcification it is useful in treating osteoporosis and other bone diseases. This herb is also used to stop the spread of some forms of cancer as it inhibits the multiplication of osteosarcoma (bone cancer cells) and lung cancer cells. Extracts of the seed have shown amazing antitumour activity. It can significantly inhibit the in-vivo growth of mammary cancer and may induce differentiation in cervical squamous epithelium Hela cells. It also has a relatively strong lethal effect on leukemia white cells. All from this scruffy little pea!
Bu Gu Zhi has a tonic effect on the uterus, causing a contraction of the muscles. It is also quite an effective aphrodisiac and is found in many famous Chinese formulas for libido ( for men and women) including “Love Potion 9 Herbs” and “Blissful Jing”. It is proven to be a very big help with incomplete erections without any dangerous side effects at all. Many consider it even more effective as a sexual stimulant than Yin Yang Hou (Horny Goat Weed). It combines well with this herb but when combined it should be used with a yin tonic such as Go Qi Zhi (Wolfberries). This prevents the drying and over-heating yang energy from causing headaches.
When treating impotence and soreness and weakness of the lower back and knees, the seed combines well with Tu Si Zi (Cuscuta chinensis), Rou Cong Rong (Cistanche deserticola) and Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides).
When treating bed wetting and nocturnal emissions due to kidney deficiency, the seed combines well with Bitter Cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum) and Shan Yao (Dioscorea batatas).
Whether used for its powerful tonic effects on the reproductive system, lungs, bones and skin or used as a fighter of acute hot diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, vitiligo and psoriasis, one thing is for sure: This little pea packs a powerful punch in a broad spectrum of the healing and tonic realm! Remember, this is only one of so very many natural safe medicines the FDA does not want you to know about.
Shanghai College Of Traditional Chinese Medicine
U of A Medical Center
Dr. Wen Zi
Author’s own knowledge of TCM