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Synonyms: I. Britannica var. chinensis
Common Names: Xuan Fu Hua, Inula flower
Habitat: Inula japnoica is native to Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia. It grows on Montane slopes, grasslands, riverbanks, fields, broad-leaved forests, streamsides; 100-2400 m. Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang.
Inula japonica is one of over 90 species in the Inula genus. Several species are popular in Western gardens, such as Inula helenium, commonly called elecampagne, but the Inula used in Chinese medicine is relatively uncommon in the West. Acceptable species for medicinal used are Inula japonica, I. hupehensis, and I. helianthus-aquatica. The root is not used in Chinese medicine but contains up to 44% inulin, hence the genus name. Inulin is a starch that humans are unable to digest therefore consumption can cause digestive distress and gas due to its fermentation.
Herbs, perennial, from short rhizomes. Stems 15-100 cm tall, striate, appressed pilose, sometimes glabrescent, simple, branched up to synflorescence. Leaves radical and cauline; radical and lower cauline leaves smaller than median leaves, withering before flowering; median leaves lanceolate, oblong, or ovate, appressed pilose or subglabrous on both surfaces, base abruptly narrowed, sessile or semiclasping, apex subacute; upper leaves gradually smaller, 10-25 mm. Capitula usually few or solitary, radiate, ca. 3.5 cm in diam., sometimes with subtending bracteal leaves. Involucre subglobose, 7-8 mm tall; phyllaries in 5 series, subequal, outer ones lanceolate, apex acuminate, inner narrow, scarious, ciliolate. Marginal florets in 1 series; lamina yellow, 16-19 × 1.5-2 mm. Disk 1.5-1.7 cm in diam.; corollas ca. 3 mm. Achenes cylindric, ca. 1 mm, 10-ribbed, pilose. Pappus of capillary bristles, sordid, ca. 5 mm, bristles minutely scabrid. It is in flower during Jun-Oct.
Cultivation & propagation:
Inula japonica is easy to grow in almost any soil and sun conditions but it prefers part shade, good loamy soil and adequate moisture. It will survive with considerable neglect. The plant flowers from July to August and seeds ripen from August to September. Propagation is relatively easy from seed, which can be sown directly into the garden in the spring or in a cold frame in autumn.
Plants may also be divided in the spring or autumn. Large clumps can be immediately replanted in the ground though small clumps should be potted and protected in a cold frame until they are rooted sufficiently, and then planted in the garden in spring. The plant may also be propagated by root cuttings taken in winter. Taking about a 3-inch section of root, it should be planted in a pot, grown in a cold frame, and planted in the garden in spring.
Inula japnoica 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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.