Herbs & Plants

Asarum sieboldii

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Botanical  Name : Asarum sieboldii
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Subfamily: Asaroideae
Genus: Asarum
Species: Asarum sieboldii
Order: Piperales

Synonyms: Asarum heterotropoides

Common Names:Wild Ginger, Xi Xin

Habitat :Native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Manchuria. Grows in coniferous and mixed woods, dense shrub thickets. Forests in moist humus-rich soils at elevations of 1200 – 2100 metres in China.

Asarum sieboldii is a perennial herb, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 6in). It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.


Rhizomes vertical or horizontal, 2-3 mm in diam., internodes 1-2 cm. Leaves paired; petiole 8-18 cm, glabrous or pubescent; leaf blade uniformly colored, cordate or ovate-cordate, 4-11 × 4.5-13.5 cm, abaxial surface pubescent only along veins or densely pubescent, adaxial surface sparsely puberulent, base deeply cordate, lateral lobes 1.5-4 × 2-2.5 cm, apex shortly acuminate or acute; cataphylls reniform-rounded, ca. 1.3 × 1.3 cm. Peduncle declinate, 2-4 cm. Calyx dark purple, urceolate to campanulate, 1-1.5 × 1-1.5 cm; sepals connate beyond attachment to ovary, abaxially glabrous; tube subglobose, 6-8 × 1-1.5 cm, adaxially longitudinally ribbed; lobes erect or spreading, triangular-ovate, ca. 0.7 × 1 cm. Stamens 12; filaments slightly longer than anthers; connectives shortly extended beyond anthers, awl-shaped. Ovary superior. Styles free, short, apex shallowly 2-cleft; stigmas lateral.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid and neutral soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.

Medicinal Uses  :
Anaesthetic;  Analgesic;  Antibacterial;  AntipyreticDiaphoreticDiuretic;  Emetic;  ExpectorantHypotensive;  Odontalgic;  Purgative;
Sedative;  Sternutatory.

Odontalgic, sternutatory. The entire plant is anaesthetic, analgesic, antibacterial, antipyretic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypotensive. It is used in the treatment of colds, severe toothache, rheumatic pain and chronic bronchitis with copious and thin phlegm. This remedy should be used with caution, large doses of the essential oil can lead to death. The root is analgesic, expectorant, sedative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic and purgative. A decoction is used in the treatment of stuffy nose, toothache, headache, rheumatic aches and pains, productive coughing and wheezing. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

A decoction is used in the treatment of colds, severe toothache, rheumatic pain and chronic bronchitis with copious and thin phlegm. It is particularly effective as an analgesic remedy for all types of aches and pains in the head.  It is used for congestion in the Eustachian tubes and upper sinus cavities.

Known Hazards :  One report says that this plant should be used with caution, a reason is not given.

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


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