Herbs & Plants

Inula japonica (Xuan Fu Hua)

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Botanical name: Inula japonica
Family: Asteraceae,/ Compositae,  aster family

Synonyms: I. Britannica var. chinensis

Common name: Inula flower, Rotated, Upturned flower
Other Names: Elecampane flower, Xuan fu hua

Habitat :Inula japonica grows in South Korea (Asia) ,China (Asia), Russian Federation (Asia), Japan (Asia), Mongolia (Asia)


This herbaceous perennial grows from rhizomes and can spread depending on conditions. The alternate species Inula britannica L. is reported as aggressive in Alabama; test and monitor for control. Branched stems to two feet in height bear bisexual disk and yellow ray flowers, the disk up to two-thirds inch in
diameter, and a pappus of bristles. Lower leaves wither before flowering, median leaves are a narrow lance-shape about 4 inches long. Xuan fu hua “rotated upturned flower” is also known in traditional Chinese medicine as “the only flower that descends,” descriptive of its action. Flowers July to October,
hardy to Zone 5…..

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Oblate or subspherical,1~2 cm in diameter. Involucre consisting of numerous bracts, imbricated; bracts lanceolate or strip-shaped, greyish-yellow, 4~11 mm long; Sometimes pedicels remaining at the base of involucre,surfaces of the bracts and pedicel covered with white hairs.Ligulate florets 1 row, yellow, about 1 cm long, mostly rolled, often fallen, with 3 terminal teeth; tubular florets numerous, brownish-yellow, about 5 mm long, with 5 terminal teeth; numerous white pappi occurring at the apex of overy, 5~6 mm long. Small elliptical achene sometimes wisible. Texture light, easily broken and separated. Odour, slight; taste, slightly bitter.
Plant in average well-drained soil at a 6-12 inch radius. The plants will spread by the following season to form a mass. Moist, warm conditions seem to promote expansiveness, but the plant may be managed easily as the root system is shallow. Estimated yield 2-4 pounds dry weight per 100 square feet. Pests

Germination: surface sow, keep at 65-70ºF. Conditions may favor vegetative propagation.

Harvest fully open flowerheads including pappus on a sunny morning after the morning dew has dried. Dry in a single layer. The flowerheads will curl and dry to a half-inch spherical shape. The overall color should be golden with white hairs and few stalks.


Medicinal Uses:
Used in traditional Chinese medicine as a mildly warming expectorant remedy, it is especially suitable when phlegm has accumulated in the chest.  The herb is often prescribed for bronchitis, wheezing, chronic coughing, and other chest complaints brought on by “cold conditions” (profuse phlegm, nausea and vomiting, hiccups and flatulence.  Xuan fu hua also has a bitter action, and it helps to strengthen digestive function.  The flowers are normally used in medicinal preparations, but the aerial parts are also taken, generally for les serious conditions.  The flowers have an antibacterial action, but this can be destroyed by proteins in the body.   The plant has been mentioned as a possible treatment for cancer of the esophagus.

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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