Herbs & Plants

Atractylodes japonica

Botanical Name: Atractylodes japonica
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Atractylodes

Synonyms: Giraldia Baroni

Common Name: Japanese Atractylodes. Japanese common name is Okera

Habitat: Atractylodes japonica is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on hills and mountains of central and southern Japan. Forests and forest margins at elevations of 200 – 800 metres in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces of eastern China.

Atractylodes japonica is a perennial herb 20-60 cm tall. Rhizome thick. Stem branched from base, glabrous. Leaves papery, glabrous. Middle cauline leaves petiolate; petiole 3-6 cm; leaf blade divided almost to base into 3-5 segments; lateral segments entire or bipartite, oblanceolate to ± narrowly elliptic, 4.5-7 × 1.5-2 cm; terminal segment largest. Upper cauline leaves similar but smaller. Outer bracts sessile, elliptic to narrowly elliptic, margin entire; inner bracts pinnatisect. Capitula 6-10. Involucre broadly campanulate, 3-4 cm in diam. Phyllaries numerous, imbricate, margin white cobwebby, apex obtuse; outer phyllaries ovate to triangular, 6-8 × 3-4 mm; innermost phyllaries lanceolate to broadly linear, 11-20 × 2-3 mm. Corolla purplish red, ca. 1.7 cm. Achene obconic, ca. 7.5 mm, hairs white. Pappus dirty white, ca. 1.7 cm. Flowering: September to October; fruiting: October to December
The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant).


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

This species is dioecious. Both male and female plants need to be grown if seed is required. Another report says that the plant is monoecious, bearing both female and bisexual flowers

Edible Uses: Buds and young leaves. No more details are given. Root – cooked. A famine food used when all else fails

Medicinal Uses:
The rhizome is commonly used in Chinese and Korean herbal medicine. It is antiemetic, appetizer, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, stomachic and tonic. The rhizome contains several medically active constituents including an essential oil and sesquiterpenes. It has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and to exert a protective influence on the liver. It is used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders such as diarrhoea, water retention, mastitis, fistula, rheumatoid arthritis and night blindness.

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


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