Akebia

Botanical  Name: Akebiae Caulis;/ Akebia trifoliata

Family: Lardizabalaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Akebia
Pinyin Mandarin Name: Mu Tong
Common English Name: Akebia; Akebia Stem

Part Used: Stem (caulis)

Nature: Cool
Taste: Bitter

Species & their Habitats:

*Akebia chingshuiensis T. Shimizu, native to Taiwan
*Akebia longeracemosa Matsumura, native to China and Taiwan
*Akebia quinata (Houttuyn) Decaisne – Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia, native to China, Japan and Korea
*Akebia trifoliata (Thunberg) Koidzumi – Three-leaf Akebia, native to China, Japan and Korea

a) Akebia trifoliate subsp. australis (Diels) T. Shimizu
b)Akebia trifoliata subsp. longisepala H. N. Qin
c)Akebia trifoliata subsp. trifoliata

Invasive plant
Akebia quinata is listed under the National Pest Plant Accord as an “unwanted organism” in New Zealand since it is an invasive plant.
DESCRIPTION: This group consists of hardy, semi-evergreen, climbing plants that are natives of Japan, China, and Korea. They are grown for their pretty flowers and foliage. The flowers of these plants are followed by interesting, sausage-shaped, edible fruits. They are suitable for growing over hedges, low trees, bushes, or stumps. A. quinata (Fiveleaf Akebia) is a large, vigorous climber that grows from 28 to 40 feet high. The leaves consist of five, notched, green leaflets that are flushed with red. In mid-spring, racemes of fragrant, reddish-purple flowers are produced. Male and female flowers are separate, but borne on the same inflorescence; the females at the base and the males at the tip. The dark purple fruits are 2 to 4 inches long; black seeds are embedded in white pulp. A. trifoliata (Threeleaf Akebia) is also a large vine growing up to 28 feet high. The leaves consist of three, shallowly lobed leaflets. The dark purple flowers are produced in racemes, in mid-spring. The light violet fruits grow 3 to 5 inches long, usually in groups of three.

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POTTING: Akebias will thrive in regular, well-drained soil, in sun or partial shade. They grow better in light rather than heavy soil. These vines need a mild spring to bear flowers and a long, hot summer to produce fruit. In mild climates, these vines may become a little over vigorous and will need to be pruned. Once in a while, excessively long shoots may be trimmed back and in late fall or early spring, they may be thinned a bit.

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PROPAGATION: Seeds, layering and cuttings are all methods of propagation. Seeds can be sown as soon as they are ripe in pots or shallow boxes filled with sandy soil, in a greenhouse or cold frame. Cuttings may be inserted in pots of sandy soil in a closed frame for a few weeks until they form roots, or in sandy soil outdoors covered with a bell jar or hand light. Layers may be made by fastening the ends of shoots to the ground with wooden pegs until they form roots.

Medicinal Uses:

A pungent, bitter herb that controls bacterial and fungal infections and stimulates the circulatory and urinary systems and female organs. It is a potent diuretic due to the high content of potassium salts.  Internally for urinary tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, absence of menstruation, and insufficient lactation.  Taken internally, it controls gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections.
This herb is used to treat symptoms of difficult urination, insomnia, absent menstruation, sore tongue and throat, joint pains, poor circulation, and deficient lactation (TCM: internal damp heat).
Meridians Entered: Heart, Small Intestine, Bladder
Traditional Usages and Functions
Promotes urination and drains heat from the Heart via the Small Intestine; promotes lactation and unblocks blood vessels.

Common Formulas Used In

Dianthus; Gentiana.
Pharmacological & Clinical Research
*Oral and Intravenous preparations of Akebia Caulis showed a very marked diuretic effect in rabbits. This effect was not produced by the ash and was therefore not due to the presence of potassium, but to some other active ingredient. Akebia Caulis had a mild antidiuretic effect when injected intravenously into anesthetized dogs, but increased urine output when given to healthy human volunteers.
*Decoctions of Akebia Caulis had an inhibitory effect in nonpregnant and pregnant mouse uterus specimens, but a stimulatory effect in mouse intestine specimens.
Cautions & Contraindications:
*Contraindicated during pregnancy and in the absence of interior damp-heat.

*This herb easily injures the fluids and should be used with extreme caution in patients with any sign of yin deficiency.
Do not overdose: acute renal failure was reported following a dose of 60

Cautions in Use
Do not use during pregnancy. Use with extreme caution where there are deficient-Yin conditions since akebia strongly promotes urination.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.acupuncture-and-chinese-medicine.com/akebia.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akebia
http://www.botany.com/akebia.html
http://library.thinkquest.org/25983/4.%20Akebia%20Caulis.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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