Baloon Flower

Botanical Name :Platycodon grandiflorum
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Platycodon
Species: P. grandiflorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:Platycodon chinensis Lindl, P. autumnalis Decne., P. sinensis Lem., P. stellatum, Campanula grandiflora Jacq., Campanula glauca Thunb., Campanula gentianoides Lam.

Common Names : platycodon, Chinese bellflower. Depending upon the region, it is also referred to as the Japanese bellflower, common balloon flower, or balloon flower.

Parts Used : dried root

Local names
Balloon-flower, chieh keng, Chinese bell flower, gil gyeong, Japanese bellflower, jiegeng, jieseng, kikiyou, kikyo, kikyokon, kikyou, platycodon radix

Habitat : It is native to East Asia (such as China, Korea, Japan, and East Siberia) and bears big blue flowers, although varieties with white and pink flowers are in cultivation. In Korea, white flowers are more common.

Description:
Balloon Flower is a Perennial herb wholly glabrous, slightly glaucescent; root white, fleshy, radishshaped, finger-thick, with abundant milky juice; stems ascending from base or straight, simple, 40–50 cm, herbaceous, glabrous or smooth, longitudinally striate in lower part; radical leaves alternate or sometimes nearly opposite, arranged along the lower half of stem or even higher, ovate-lanceolate, sessile, tapering at base, 2.5–3.4 cm long, 2–3 cm wide, rather large-toothed, pale beneath, glaucescent, upper leaves reduced. Flowers usually 1, sometimes 2, large, lengthily pedunculate, broadly campanulate or deeply saucer-shaped; calyx in 5 segments; corolla 5-lobed, violet-blue, 4 cm long; stamens 5; ovary many-celled. Fruit an ovoid capsule dehiscent at the top; seeds ovoid, compressed, obtuse, first violet then brown; albumen fleshy

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Chemical assays:
Triterpene saponins, not less than 2%. Saponin content of the root can be evaluated by thin-layer chromatography–densitometry

Major chemical constituents:     The major chemical constituents of Radix Platycodi root are triterpene saponins based on the sapogenins platycodigenin and polygalacic acid; examples are platycodins A–I and polygalacins D and D2

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Medicinal Uses:
The root of this species (radix platycodi) is used extensively as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of coughs and colds; in Korea the plant is known as doraji  and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower  is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of  voice.  It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.

Other Uses:
The plant is also a popular garden ornamental. It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3 and requires little care.

Popular culture:-

In Taiwan
In the Taiwanese drama Autumn’s Concerto, “Hua Tuo Ye” refers to the woman of his affection, “Liang Mu Cheng” as a Chinese Bellflower.

In Japan
Rumiko Takahashi named her character Kikyo (??, Kikyou) from her manga Inuyasha after the flower. The Cloud Real Six Funeral Wreath leader, Kikyo, from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is also named after this flower, following the “one thousand flowers” naming of the Millefiore family. Kikyou (aka Reverse Sia) from the Shuffle! series is named after this flower, but her name is written in katakana rather than the actual kanji. Mahoro from Mahoromatic leaves theres flowers at the Grave of Commander Morisato every year and was known to Shugura as the “Bell Flower” person until late in the anime.

In Japan, the pentagram is sometimes called the “Bellflower seal”, and the flower was the symbol of the Onmyoryo (Bureau of Taoist Geomancy), because of its associations with Abe no Seimei and the Five Chinese Elements.

In the manga and anime series Bleach, the insignia for the Fourth Division is the Bellflower; the meaning behind it is Those who grieve are loved.

In Korea
Main article: Doraji (folk song)
In Korea, the white Chinese bellflower is called Doraji and is sung in the traditional folk song, Doraji.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Platycodon_grandiflorus
http://herbalinformation.awardspace.com/?cm=p&fn=platycodon_grandiflorum

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