Dang shen (Codonopsis pilosula)

Botanicakl Name :Codonopsis pilosula
Family : Campanulaceae
Genus : Codonopsis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Species: C. pilosula
Parts Used: Taproot

Synonyms : Campanumoea pilosula – Franch.
Common Names :Poor man’s ginseng,Codonopsis Root , Dang Shen, Bastard Ginseng, Bonnet bellflowers

Habitat
:  N.E. Asia – Korea Dense shrubby thickets, the shade of trees at forest edges, streambanks etc .Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Description:

It  is a perennial species of flowering plant native to Northeast Asia and Korea and usually found growing around streambanks and forest openings under the shade of trees.
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The plant is shrubby and dense and has a tendency to climb, producing heart shaped leaves, light green five pointed bell shaped flowers with prominent yellow or light purple veins. The plant can grow up to 8-10 feet in height with roots 1-3 cm thick.

It is hardy to zone 6 and is frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation
Prefers a well-drained fertile light soil in full sun or semi shade. Plants only succeed in full sun if the soil remains moist during the growing season. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Although quite cold-hardy when dormant, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A climbing plant, supporting itself by twining and scrambling over other plants. The plant resents root disturbance and should be planted out into its permanent position as soon as possible. It is best grown on a high bank in order to give a good view of the flowers. Plants are very susceptible to the ravages of slugs. The young shoots in spring are particularly at risk, though older growth is also eaten.

Propagation
Seed – surface sow in spring to early summer in an ericaceous compost in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer and protect them from slugs until the plants are well established[K]. Division in spring, with care, since the plant resents root disturbance. We have found it best to take small divisions that are teased out from the sides of the main clump so as to cause the least possible disturbance to the plants and to avoid having to dig up the clump. These small divisions need to be potted up and placed in light shade in a greenhouse until they are rooting well. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer if they are large enough, otherwise in the following spring

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root.

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Root – raw or cooked.

Constituents
: friedelin, taraxerol, alpha-spinasterol, alpha-spinasterol-beta-d-glucopyranoside, n-butyl-alpha-d-fructofuranoside and n-butyl-beta-d-fructopyranoside .

Medicinal Actions &  Uses:
Adaptogen; Appetizer; Digestive; Galactogogue; Sialagogue; Stomachic; Tonic.

Dang Shun is an important herb in Chinese medicine, it is a gentle tonic that increases energy levels and helps the body adapt to stress. The root contains saponins, triterpenes and steroids, it is similar in action to ginseng (Panax species), but it is milder and has a shorter-lasting effect. It is a sweet, warm, soothing herb that is taken as an energy tonic. It acts mainly on the spleen, lungs and stomach, raising secretion of body fluids and blood sugar levels, and stimulating the immune system. Research has shown that it increases haemoglobin and red blood cell levels and lowers the blood pressure. It also helps increase endurance to stress and promotes alertness. The root and the whole plant are adaptogen, appetizer, digestive, galactogogue, sialagogue, stomachic and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of low energy, poor appetite and digestion, anaemia, shallow breathing and debility after illness. It is often cooked with rice until it is glutinous and used as a tonic food. The dried root is decocted with other herbs and used to treat a wide range of ailments. The roots of plants at least three years old are harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried.

Common Uses: Asthma * Cancer Prevention * Diarrhea * Digestion/Indigestion * General Health Tonics * Hypertension HBP * IBS * Nausea *

Codonopsis has been used as an astringent in excessive uterine bleeding, and for rheumatic and other joint pains, and described as an aphrodisiac, general tonic and styptic…Pharmacological research has confirmed that the herb promotes digestion and metabolism, helps to strengthen the immune system, stimulates the nervous system, dilates peripheral blood vessels, and inhibits adrenal cortex activity, thereby lowering blood pressure.

As a cooling herb, codonopsis is useful in any illness in which “spleen qi deficiency” a deficiency of digestive energies, is the underlying cause.
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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Codonopsis+pilosula
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codonopsis_pilosula
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail303.php

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