Herbs & Plants

Cynanchum atratum

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Botanical Name :Cynanchum atratum
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Cynanchum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms : Vincetoxicum atratum. (Bunge.)Morr.&Decne.
Common Name :Bai Wei

Habitat: Cynanchum atratum is native to E. Asia – Northern China, Japan. It grows in the mountains all over Japan. Sunny meadows from the lowlands to elevations of 500 metres.

Description :
Cynanchum atratum is al herbs or subshrubs, often growing to 0.6 m (2ft) from rhizomes. The leaves are usually oppositely arranged and sometimes are borne on petioles. It is in flower from May to June. The inflorescences and flowers come in a variety of shapes.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.


Like other species of the milkweed family, these plants bear follicles, which are podlike dry fruits.

Cynanchum is a genus of about 300 species including some swallowworts, belonging to the family Apocynaceae. The taxon name comes from Greek kynos (meaning “dog”) and anchein (“to choke”), referring to the toxicity of these plants. Hence the common name for several species is dog-strangling vine. Most species are non-succulent climbers or twiners.

Cynanchum louiseae, the black swallowwort, is a troublesome noxious weed in parts of the northern United States.

This species does not need any special process for cultivation as this is probably succeed in most soils in a sunny position.

Seed – sow spring in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Edible Uses:   Young stem and leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young seedpods – thoroughly boiled. Some caution is advised.

Medicinal Uses:
The root of Cynanchum atratum is used in Chinese traditional medicine and called Bai wei. Several other species had traditional Chinese medicinal uses.

The roots are used to treat fever, coughs, blood in urine, inflammation of the urethra. Cardiac tonic ingredients of bai wei stimulate the heart muscle and improve contraction and slow down heart rate.  Bai wei can inhibit pneumococcus. Toxic amount: 30-40 grams.  Koreans use the root to treat women in pregnancy and parturition, for fever and micturition, and to apply externally to rounds..

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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Herbs & Plants

Chinese honeylocust(Gleditsia sinensis)

Botanical Name :Gleditsia sinensis
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Gleditsia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: G. sinensis

Common Name :In China, it has the name zào jiá.  However, its English name includes Chinese honey locust (or Chinese honeylocust), soap bean and soap pod.

Habitat :  E. Asia – China.   Dry valleys in W. China, 1000 – 1600 metres. Along valley streams or on level land.

Chinese honeylocust is a  deciduous  tree, growing to 12 m (39ft 4in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.


Easily grown in a loamy soil, requiring a sunny position. Succeeds in most soils[200]. Tolerates drought once established and atmospheric pollution. Rather tender when young, it grows best in S. Britain. A tree at Cambridge Botanical Gardens was 13 metres tall in 1985. Trees have a light canopy, they come into leaf late in the spring and drop their leaves in early autumn making them an excellent top storey tree in a woodland garden. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a greenhouse. The seed should have swollen up, in which case it can be sown, if it has not swollen then soak it for another 24 hours in warm water. If this does not work then file away some of the seed coat but be careful not to damage the embryo. Further soaking should then cause the seed to swell. One it has swollen, the seed should germinate within 2 – 4 weeks at 20°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors

Medicinal Uses :

Anthelmintic;  Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Antipruritic;  Antitussive;  Astringent;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Haemostatic;  Laxative;
Skin;  Stimulant;  VD.

A decoction of the leaves is used for washing sores, including syphilitic skin diseases. The stem bark is anthelmintic and febrifuge. The fruit is antibacterial, antifungal, antitussive, astringent, emetic, expectorant, haemostatic and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma with sticky phlegm, epilepsy and apoplexy with loss of consciousness. Overdosage can cause poisoning of the entire body, haemolysis of the blood. The seed is emetic, expectorant, decongestant and purgative. They have been used in the treatment of cancer of the rectum. The root bark is anthelmintic and antifebrile. The thorns on the plant are antipruritic. They are used in the treatment of acute purulent inflammation, dermatopathies and tonsillitis. They should not be used by pregnant women. The plant has been used in the treatment of lockjaw, stroke, acute numbness of the throat and epilepsy, but the report does not make clear whether the seed or the thorns of the plant are used.
Antidote Takeda; Congestion Hunan; Dysentery Hunan; Emetic Woi.4; Epilepsy Hunan; Expectorant Hunan, Takeda, Woi.4; Laxative Hunan; Lockjaw Hunan; Numbness Hunan; Purgative Woi.4; Soap Uphof; Stroke Hunan; Tumor Hartwell.(From Dr. Duke’s  Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases🙂

It is one of the alleged “50 fundamental herbs” used in traditional Chinese medicine. Gleditsia sinensis has been used in China for at least 2000 years as a detergent.

The thorns of Gleditsia sinensis LAM. (Leguminosae) have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases including swelling, suppuration, carbuncle and skin diseases in China and Korea. In this study, we investigated the mechanism responsible for anti-inflammatory effects of Gleditsia sinensis thorns in RAW 264.7 macrophages. The aqueous extract of Gleditsia sinensis thorns (AEGS) inhibited LPS-induced NO secretion as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, without affecting cell viability. Furthermore, AEGS suppressed LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation, phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaB-alpha, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). These results suggest that AEGS has the inhibitory effects on LPS-induced NO production and iNOS expression in macrophages through blockade in the phosphorylation of MAPKs, following IkappaB-alpha degradation and NF-kappaB activation.

Other Uses
Soap;  Tannin;  Wood.

The pod is used as a soap substitute. The seed is used. Tannin is obtained from the seedpod. Wood – strong, durable, coarse-grained. Used for general construction.

Known Hazards: The plant contains potentially toxic compounds.

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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Herbs & Plants

Datura metel

Botanical Name : Datura metel
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. metel
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Devil’s trumpet and metel,Thorn Apple, Angel’s Trumpet, Hindu Datura, Horn of Plenty, Downy Thorn Apple
It is known under several cultivar names as; ‘Black’, ‘Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Cornucopaea’, ‘Double Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Double Purple’, ‘Purple Hindu’. It has also received many scientific names which should not be used for a cultivar:

*Datura hummatu var. fastuosa (L.) Bernh.
*Datura fastuosa L.
*Datura metel f. fastuosa (L.) Danert
*Datura metel var. fastuosa (L.) Saff.
*Stramonium fastuosum (L.) Moench

Habitat: Datura metel is native to E. Asia – S. China, India. Naturalized in the Mediterranean. It grows in waste places, river sands etc in sunny positions


The plant is an annual herb growing up to 3 ft. high. It is slightly furry, with dark violet shoots and oval to broad oval leaves that are often dark violet as well. The pleasantly-scented 6-8 in. flowers are immensely varied, and can be single or double. Colors range from white to cream, yellow, red, and violet. The seed capsule is covered with numerous conical humps and a few spines.. It is similar to D. inoxia, but D. metel has almost glabrous leaves and fruits that are knobby, not spiny. D. inoxia is pilose all over and has a spiny fruit.

Click to see different pictures of Dautra metal
Black daturas (Datura metel ‘Fastuosa’)
A cultivar of D. metel with a polished-looking ebony-black stem exists as a garden plant. Its flowers normally have a double or triple corolla, each corolla having a deep purple exterior and white or off-white interior. The plant is already reported to have become naturalised in Israel (see illustration). The black cultivar might become a common roadside dweller, like its white-flowered ancestor……CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Detail Botanical Description:
*ROOT – Branched tap root system
*STEM – The stem is hollow, green and herbaceous with strong odour
*LEAF – Simple, alternate, petiolate, entire or deeply lobed, glabrous showing unicostate reticulate venation and exstipulate.
*INFLORESCENCE – Solitary and axillary cyme
*FLOWER – Laege, greenish white, bracteate, ebractiolate, pedicellate, complete, dichlamydeous, pentamerous, regular, actinomorphic, bisexual, and hypogynous
*CALYX – Sepals 5, green, gamosepalous showing valvate aestivation. Calyx is mostly persistent andodd sepal is posterior in position.
*COROLLA – Petals 5, greenish white, gamopetalous, plicate showing twisted aestivation, funnel shaped with wide mouth and 10 lobed.
*ANDROECIUM – Stamens 5, free from one another, epipetalous, alternate the petals and are inserted inside the middle of the corolla tube. Anthers are basifixed, dithecous with long filament, introrse and longitudinally dehiscent.
*GYNOECIUM – Ovary superior, syncarpous and bicarpellary. Ovary is basically bilocullar but tetralocular due to false septa. Carpels are obliquely place and ovules on swollen axile placenta. Style simple, long and filliform. Stigma is two lobed.
*FRUIT – Spinescent capsule opening by four apical valves with persistent calyx.
*SEED – Endospermous


Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen. Prefers a rich light sandy soil and an open sunny position. Grows best in a fertile calcareous soil[200]. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. There are a number of named varieties selected for their ornamental value. The flowers have an exotic fragrance, though the bruised leaves have an unpleasant smell. This species is closely related to D. innoxia. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

Edible Uses:   Drink……The leaves and roots are bruised, mixed with water and left to stand for several hours. The liquid is then drawn off and drunk. This is a highly narcotic drink, producing a stupefying effect that it is not easy to remove. Caution is advised, see the notes  in known hazards.

Medicinal use:
Datura is known for its anticholinergic and deliriant properties: D. metel is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yáng j?n hu? . The ingestion of D.metel in any form is dangerous and should be treated with extreme caution. The dry flower, particularly the violet coloured, if rolled and used like cigar, will help to relieve the asthma or wheezing like symptoms

You may click to see :

Medical uses, culinary recepies, psychoactive effects, etc. :

Medicinal Plants or Medicinal Herbs – Datura metel (Siddha Medicine) (Materia Medica) :

Different Medical Uses of Datura Metel :

Known Hazards:

All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of tropane alkyloids (highly poisonous) and may be fatal if ingested by humans or other animals, including livestock and pets. In some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura plants.

Datura metel may be toxic if ingested in a tiny quantity, symptomatically expressed as flushed skin, headaches, hallucinations, and possibly convulsions or even a coma. The principal toxic elements are tropane alkaloids. Accidentally (or intentionally) ingesting even a single leaf could lead to severe side effects.

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.


Acupunture Featured

Acupuncture is Just as Effective Without Needles

NeedlesAcupuncture works, but it appears to work equally well with or without needle penetration. This conclusion was drawn from a treatment study involving cancer patients suffering from nausea during radiotherapy.

In a series of acupuncture studies that involved more than 200 patients who were undergoing radiation treatment, roughly half received traditional acupuncture with needles penetrating the skin in particular points, while the others received simulated acupuncture instead, with a telescopic, blunt placebo needle that merely touched their skin.

click to see

Afterwards, 95 percent of the patients in both groups felt that the treatment had helped relieve nausea, and 67 percent had experienced other positive effects such as improved sleep, brighter mood, and less pain. Both groups felt considerably better than a separate control group that received no acupuncture of any kind.

The acupuncture was performed by physiotherapists two or three times a week during the five week long period of their radiation treatment.

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Herbs & Plants

San Qi

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Botanical Name : Panax pseudo-ginseng
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Panax
Subgenus: Panax
Section: Pseudoginseng
Species: P. pseudoginseng
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms : Panax notoginseng

Other Possible Synonyms:Aralia quinquefolia var. notoginseng[G] P. notoginseng[G] P. pseudo-ginseng notoginseng[HORTIPLEX] P. pseudoginseng var. notoginseng[G] (From various places across the web, may not be 100% correct.)

Common Name :San Qi, Pseudoginseng, Nepal ginseng, and Himalayan ginseng.

 Habitat:Woodland, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge, Deep Shade. Forests and shrubberies, 2100 – 4300 metres in Central Nepal in the Himalayas, E. Asia – China to the Himalayas and Burma.Notoginseng grows naturally in China and Japan.


Perennial growing to 1.2m at a slow rate. . The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female   organs).

The herb is a perennial with dark green leaves branching from a stem with a red cluster of berries in the middle. It is both cultivated and gathered from wild forests, with wild plants being the most valuable. The Chinese refer to it as “three-seven root” because the plant has three branches with seven leaves each. It is also said that the root should be harvested between three and seven years after planting it…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation :

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.  Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland.

Seed – sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse or frame for at least their first winter. Make sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the roots. Plant out into their permanent positions in late summer.

Edible Uses
Drink; Tea.
The roots are chewed, used as a flavouring in liqueurs or made into a tea.

. This is the form used medicinally in China. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.

Medicinal Uses
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Haemostatic; Hypoglycaemic.   San Qi is a fairly recent newcomer to Chinese herbalism, the first recorded usage dating from the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it has attained an importance as a tonic medicine that supports the function of the adrenal glands, in particular the production of corticosteroids and male sex hormones. It also helps to improve blood flow through the coronary arteries, thus finding use as a treatment for arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and angina.

The roots are said to be analgesic,antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, cardiotonic, diuretic, haemostatic,hypoglycaemic , antiphlogistic, astringent, discutient, hypoglycaemic, styptic, tonic and vulnerary. They are used in the treatment of contused wounds, soft tissue injuries and all kinds of bleeding, both internal and external, like haematuria, nose bleeds, haematemesis, uterine bleeding etc. They are also used in the treatment of coronary heart disease and angina pectoris. The roots can be applied externally as a poultice in order to help speed the healing of wounds and bruises.

The root is harvested before flowering or after the seed has ripened. It is usually dried for later use.

*stop bleeding – transform blood stasis – int. & ext. bleeding

*-can stop bleeding without causing blood stasis

*-traumatic injuries – alleviate pain, reduce swelling

The roots are also used both internally and externally in the treatment of nosebleeds, haemorrhages from the lungs, digestive tract and uterus, and injuries. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 – 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried.

The flowers are used to treat vertigo and dizziness.

The purple-red san-qi ginseng flower is valued for its ability to improve and maintain the circulation of Blood and Qi. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, san-qi ginseng flower is Sweet and Cool and pacifies the Liver.

Orally, panax pseudoginseng is used as a hemostatic, for vomiting and coughing up blood, blood in the urine or stool, nosebleed, and hemorrhagic disease. It is also used to relieve pain, and to reduce swelling, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. Panax pseudoginseng is also used for angina, dizziness, and acute sore throat.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have called notoginseng “the miracle root for the preservation of life.”Research is showing that Notoginseng exerts a number of beneficial effects on several physiological functions, including the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems. It is widely used in Asia for angina, to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and to expand coronary arteries in order to promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots.

Internally it is used for coronary heart disease and angina(roots), dizziness, and vertigo (Flowers).  Internally and externally it is used for nosebleed, and hemorrhage from lungs, digestive tract, uterus, or injuries (roots).  It was used extensively by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War to increase recovery rates from gunshot wounds.  Used in the herbal combination PC-SPES’.a compound of 8 herbs used for prostate cancer.  It is one of the most valuable Chinese herbs for traumas and injuries because of its ginseng-like tonic properties and its strong hemostatic action in acute conditions. It will effectively dissolve blood clots when taken internally and works very well for most abnormal bleeding when combined with the ashes of human hair.  Its healing, astringent properties increase when combined with comfrey root.  Like the other ginsengs, it may be taken as a blood and energy tonic and is regarded by some as equally effective.  It is considered preferable for younger people because it moves the chi more than the common American or Oriental ginsengs.  It also strengthens the heart and improves athletic performance, making it a preferred tonic for the purposes of sports medicine

According to Ron Teeguarden, master herbalist and author of Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs (Warner Books, 1998), Notoginseng is also considered one of the most powerful blood tonics known to man. It is used in Chinese medicine to assist coagulation of the blood, stop bleeding, and to dilate the coronary artery and increase coronary blood flow, thus providing more blood to the heart muscle. The herb also reduces cardiac load, lowers arterial pressure, and improves micro-circulation in and around damaged heart tissue.

The herb is sweet and slightly bitter in flavour, slightly warm in nature, and acts on the heart, liver and spleen channels. Being sweet for mildness, warm for clearing, it acts heart and liver channels and blood division for resolving blood stasis and improving blood circulation. When the stasis is resolved and the blood returned back to the vessels, the bleeding without retaining blood stasis, it is an important herb to stop bleeding and alleviate pain. The herb is often used to treat various kinds of bleeding and pains due to blood stasis.

1. The herb powder can be orally taken, 2-3 times a day, 3g each time, to treat haematemesis, hemafecia, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis and other kinds of bleeding, with a better effect for bleeding with blood stasis. To treat haematemensis, hemafecia caused by ulcer of the digestive tract, the herb can be used in combination with hyacinth bletilla and cuttle bone.

2 . To treat traumatic ecchymosis and swelling pain, the herb can be orally taken or externally applied or used in combination with other herbs for removing blood stasis and alleviating pain. To treat obstruction of the heart channel by blood stasis and colic due to obstruction of Qi in the chest, the herb is often used in combination with ginseng for supplementing Qi, clearing the channels, removing blood stasis and alleviating pain.

Dosage and Administration: 1-3g. The herb powder is orally taken in form of infusion with hot boiled water.

Click to learn more about San Qi

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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