Tag Archives: Chinese herbology

Psoralea corylifolia

Botanical Name :Psoralea corylifolia
Family: Fabaceae
Genus:     Psoralea
Species: P. corylifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales

Synonyms : Cyamopsis psoralioides

Common Names:Bavchi, Babchi, Bakuchi, Babchi Seeds, Bavachi, Bavanchalu, Bavanchi Bavchi, Bhavanchi-vittulu, Bawachi, Bhavaj, Bobawachi, Bogi-vittulu, Hakuchi, Kantaka, Karpokarishi, Karu-bogi, Krishnaphala, Latakasturi, Somaraji, Sugandha kantak, Vabkuchi, Vakuchi, Fountain Bush, Scurfy Pea, Bu Gu Zhi.

Habitat :Psoralea corylifolia is available in many parts of Asia from Iran to China, Africa and the Middle East.It grows in Warm valleys, in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, China.

Description:
Psoralea corylifolia is an annual, erect shrub or small tree, which grows up to 4 m high, with blue, lilac and white, pea-shaped flowers. The leaves are compound and are composed of several pairs of leaflets and a terminal one. The leaflets are 50 mm long and 3 mm wide and are aromatic when crushed. The pea-flowers are borne at the ends of the branches or in the axils of the upper leaves. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.

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Cultivation:     
. Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil. Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are very intolerant of root disturbance, they are best planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. 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.

Propagation:   
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early to mid spring in a greenhouse. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible in order to avoid root disturbance. Grow them on in the pots until planting out in their final positions. It is usually impossible to transplant this species without fatal damage to the root. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully.

Edible Uses:  Seed are eaten.
Medicinal Uses:
Part Used : Seeds, Roots And Fruits.

Chemical constituents: Psoralea Corylifolia extract contains a number of chemical compounds including flavonoids (neobavaisoflavone, isobavachalcone, bavachalcone, bavachinin, bavachin, corylin, corylifol, corylifolin and 6-prenylnaringenin), coumarins (psoralidin, psoralen, isopsoralen and angelicin) and meroterpenes (bakuchiol and 3-hydroxybakuchiol).

Very high concentrations genistein have been found in the leaves of  this plant.

Psoralea Corylifolia is valued in Chinese herbal medicine as a tonic remedy and is used to improve general vitality. It is also of value in the treatment of skin disorders, including vitiligo. Some caution should be employed when applying the herb externally. The one-seeded fruits are highly regarded as an aphrodisiac and tonic to the genital organs. The seed is anthelmintic, antibacterial, aphrodisiac, astringent, cardiac, cytotoxic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is used in the treatment of febrile diseases, premature ejaculation, impotence, lower back pains, frequent urination, incontinence, bed wetting etc. The seed and fruit contain psoralen. The root is used for treating dental caries. The plant yields a useful medicinal oleoresin, it treats kidney disorders, impotence, lumbago. It is also used externally to treat various skin ailments including leprosy, leucoderma and hair loss. The antibacterial action of the fruit inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

This is an herb used to tonify the kidneys, particularly kidney yang and essence. It is used for helping the healing of bone fractures, for lower back and knee pain, impotence, bed wetting, hair loss, and vitiligo

Known Hazards :    Although no specific mention of toxicity for this species has been found, at least some members of this genus contain furanocoumarins, these substances can cause photosensitivity in some people.

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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoralea_corylifolia
http://www.agrisources.com/herbs/babchiseeds.html
http://www.motherherbs.com/psoralea-corylifolia.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Psoralea+corylifolia

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Angelica pubescens

 

Botanical Name : Angelica pubescens
Family : Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Genus: Angelica
Species: A. pubescens

Common Names:
Japanese common name is Shishiudo and the Chinese common name is  Du huo

Habitat : Native to E. Asia – Japan  & China.  It  grows in damp habitats in hills and low mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Description:
Angelica pubescens is  herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1–2 m tall with tripinnate leaves up to 1 m long, the leaflets being 5–10 cm long. The flowers are white, produced in large umbels.

The young stems and leaves are edible. Shishiudo is often mistaken with udo. The plant is used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:  
Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed. A polymorphic species.

Propagation  :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Edible Uses: Leaves are cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses :
Anodyne;  AntiinflammatoryAntirheumaticCarminativeEmmenagogue;  Nervine;  Vasodilator.

The roots and rhizomes are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, carminative, nervine and vasodilator. A decoction is used to promote menstruation, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, headache, toothache and abscesses. This herb is used medicinally in the same ways as A. dahurica (Bai Zhi). These uses are as follows:- Bai Zhi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful external influences. Bai Zhi is contraindicated for pregnant women. The root is analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, poultice and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of frontal headache, rhinitis, boils, carbuncles and skin diseases. It appears to be of value in treating the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

The roots and rhizomes are used to treat nose bleed, blood in urine, rheumatic arthritis, lumbago, common cold, headache; increase menstrual flow.  A decoction is used to promote menstruation, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, headache, toothache and abscesses

Known Hazards:  All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis.

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

Resources:
http://www.botanic.jp/plants-sa/sisiud.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Angelica+pubescens
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelica_pubescens

 

Cnidium

Botanical Name ; Cnidium monnieri
Family  : Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
Genus:    Cnidium
Species:C. monnieri
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Apiale

Common Name : Cnidium

Habitat :Cnidium  is native to   E. Asia – China, Korea, Mongolia, Russia. Previously naturalized in the warmer areas of Europe . Grows in field edges and the sides of ditches in China. Riparian meadows and field margins in most of China.

Description:
Cnidium monnieri is a perennial plant  growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August.cnidium is round, dark yellow in color, and has a pleasant aroma….

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.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. Judging by the plants native habitat it is likely to require a well-drained soil in a sunny position. One report says that it is an annual whilst another says that it is perennial.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no details for this species but suggest sowing it as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Alternatively, sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer

Edible Uses   :
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The leaves are used as a condiment. Young shoots. No further details are given, but some caution is suggested because of a report of slight toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Antipruritic;  Antirheumatic;  Aphrodisiac;  AstringentCarminative;  Sedative;  Vermifuge;  Vulnerary.

She Chuang Zi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine. It is mainly used externally as a lotion, powder or ointment for skin conditions such as eczema, ringworm and scabies. The seed is antipruritic, aphrodisiac, antirheumatic, astringent, carminative, discutient, sedative, vermifuge and vulnerary. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of Trichomonas vaginitis, leucorrhoea and uterine displacement. The seed is also used in the treatment of impotence, often in conjunction with Schisandra chinensis. It has been shown to have an action similar to the sex hormones, prolonging and reviving the copulation period, increasing the weight of the uterus and ovary, prostate gland and testicle. A decoction of the seed or whole plant is applied externally to skin problems including weeping eczema.

Safety: American Herbal Products Association has given cnidium a class I rating, meaning that it is safe when taken in appropriate levels. However, cnidium seeds should not be used for hot or sore skin that is excessively dry. They should not also be taken at the same time patients are taking peony root, croton seed or fritillaria.

Supporting Research: Cnidium has been very commonly used in formulations designed to warm the Kidneys and strengthen Yang energy. It is primarily used for the purpose of overcoming sexual malaise and strengthening sexual potency

Known Hazards :  One report says that the plant is slightly toxic.

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.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cnidium+monnieri
http://www.herbpalace.com/herbs/cnidium-seed.html
http://saludbio.com/imagen/cnidium-monnieri

http://www.botanic-art.com/seeds-cnidium-monnieri-chuang-gram-p-340.html

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Chinese Woad (Isatis tinctoria or Isatis indigotica)

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad,...

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad, habitus Deutsch: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Färberwaid, Deutscher Indigo, Habitus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Isatis tinctoria /Isatis indigotica
Family: Brassicaceae/Cruciferae
Genus: Isatis
Species: I. tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Isatis indigotica – Fortune.

Common Name:  Chinese Woad
Other Common Names: Ban Lan Gen, Ch’Ing Tai, Dyer’s Woad, Dyer’s-woad, Tein-ching, Tien Hua, Wede, Woad

Habitat :Woad is native to the steppe and desert zones of the Caucasus, Central Asia to eastern Siberia and Western Asia (Hegi), but is now found in southeastern and some parts of Central Europe as well.Grows in  cliffs and cornfields, often on chalky soils.

Description:
Isatis indigotica is Biennial/Perennial growing to 1m by 0.45m.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

You may click to see the pictures

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 and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position, though it succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers neutral to alkaline conditions. Plants deplete the soil of nutrients and cannot be grown successfully on the same site for more than two years. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Woad is a biennial, or occasionally a short-lived perennial plant. It has a very long history as a dye plant, being used by the ancient Britons to give a blue colouring to the skin. At one time woad was widely cultivated for this blue dye obtained from its leaves but with the advent of chemical dyes it has fallen into virtual disuse. It is currently (1993) being grown commercially on a small scale in Germany as a wood preservative (An item on BBC’s Radio 4 Farming Programme). Plants self-sow freely when they are grown in a suitable position, though they tend not to thrive if grown in the same position for more than two years.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Fresh seed can also be sown in situ in late summer, it will take 20 months to flower but will produce more leaves

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – they require long soaking in order to remove a bitterness, and even then they are still bitter[177, 179]. There is no record of the seeds being edible, but they contain 12 – 34% protein and 12 – 38% fat on a zero moisture basis[218].

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiviral; Astringent; Cancer.

Isatis indigotica contains indican and isatin B, both of which can be converted to indigo. Considered antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Leaves and roots are effective against flu, encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, and mumps.

Woad has rather a mixed press for its medicinal virtues. One author says it is so astringent that it is not fit to be used internally – it is only used externally as a plaster applied to the region of the spleen and as an ointment for ulcers, inflammation and to staunch bleeding[4]. However, it is widely used internally in Chinese herbal medicine where high doses are often employed in order to maintain high levels of active ingredients. The leaves are antibacterial, anticancer, antiviral, astringent and febrifuge. It controls a wide range of pathogenic organisms, including viruses. It is used internally in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, including meningitis, encephalitis, mumps, influenza, erysipelas, heat rash etc. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried. They are also macerated and the blue pigment extracted. This is also used medicinally, particularly in the treatment of high fevers and convulsions in children, coughing of blood and as a detoxifier in infections such as mumps. The root is antibacterial and anticancer. It is used in the treatment of fevers, pyogenic inflammation in influenza and meningitis, macula in acute infectious diseases, erysipelas, mumps and epidemic parotitis. Its antibacterial action is effective against Bacillus subtilis, haemolytic streptococcus,, C. diphtheriae, E. coli, Bacillus typhi, B. paratyphi, Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri and Salmonella enteritidis. Both the leaves and the roots are used in the treatment of pneumonia. The root and the whole plant have anticancer properties whilst extracts of the plant have shown bactericidal properties.

Other Uses
Dye; Preservative.

Woad is historically famous as a dye plant, having been used as a body paint by the ancient Britons prior to the invasion of the Romans. A blue dye is obtained from the leaves by a complex process that involves fermenting the leaves and produces a foul stench. The dye is rarely used nowadays, having been replaced first by the tropical Indigofera tinctoria and more recently by synthetic substitutes. Nevertheless, it is a very good quality dye that still finds some use amongst artists etc who want to work with natural dyes. A very good quality green is obtained by mixing it with Dyer’s greenwood (Genista tinctoria). Woad is also used to improve the colour and quality of indigo, as well as to form a base for black dyes. The leaves are harvested when fully grown and 3 – 4 harvests can be made in total. Recent research in Germany has shown that (the dyestuff in?) this plant is a very good preservative for wood[Radio 4 Farming programme].

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.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Isatis+tinctoria
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isatis_tinctoria
http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/woad_chinese.html
http://www.uniprot.org/taxonomy/161756

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Anemarrhena asphodeloides

Botanical Name :Anemarrhena asphodeloides
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Anemarrhena
Species: A. asphodeloides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :Zhi Mu

Habitats: Anemarrhena asphodeloides is native to  E. Asia – N. China and Japan. Grows in  Mountain woodlands. Exposed slopes and hills. Scrub, grassy slopes, steppes, sunny and sandy hillsides from near sea level to 1500 metres.

Description:
Anemarrhena asphodeloides is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

click to see the pictures.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid and neutral soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Requires a rich moist neutral to acid soil that is rich in organic matter, in a position in partial or dappled shade. Plants are tolerant of strong winds. Plants can be naturalized in wild or woodland gardens and other moist shaded situations that approximate to their natural wooded mountain habitats. This species is not hardy in all parts of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to at least -5°c. This plant is occasionally cultivated in China as a medicinal herb. The fragrant flowers open in the evening.

Propagation
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the spring. Stored seed should be sown in late winter or early spring in a cold frame. It sometimes germinates within 1 – 3 months at 15°c, but may take a year. The seed should be completely separated from the fruit and should only just be covered by soil. If the seed has been sown thinly enough, then it is possible to leave the seedlings in the pot for their first growing season, dividing them after they become dormant. Make sure to give them liquid feeds at intervals through the spring and summer. Otherwise prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in late spring or early summer at the beginning of their second or third years growth. Division in spring as new growth is just commencing

Medicinal Uses:
Antifungal;  Antiseptic;  Bitter;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  FebrifugeHypoglycaemic;  Laxative;  Lenitive;  Sedative;  Tonic.

The rhizome is anti-fungal, antiseptic, bitter, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, laxative, lenitive, sedative and tonic. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, Proteus and Pseudomonas. It is taken internally in the treatment of high fevers in infectious diseases, TB, chronic bronchitis, diabetes and urinary problems. It should not be given to patients with diarrhoea and should be administered with caution since when taken in excess it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash in the treatment of ulcers. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use

Internally used for high fever in infectious diseases, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, and urinary problems.  Zhi mu is used in Chinese herbal medicine for “excess heat” – fever, night sweats, and coughs.  It has a bitter taste and a “cold temperament,” and is used to treat canker sores, particularly in combination with rehmannia and Scrophularia ningpoensis.  Externally as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers. Therapeutic action is slightly altered by cooking with wine or salt. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paraatyphi, Proteus and Pseudomonas. It is taken internally in the treatment of high fevers in infectious diseases, TB, chronic bronchitis and urinary problems. It should not be given to patients with diarrhea and should be administered with caution since when taken in excess it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash in the treatment of ulcers. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

You may click to learn more

Other Uses
Soap.

The root contains about 6% saponins. Saponins make an excellent soap, having a gentle cleansing effect on the skin and clothes without removing the natural body oils from the skin. To extract the saponins it is usually sufficient to cut the root into thin slices and then gently simmer in water.

Known Hazards : It should not be given to patients with diarrhoea and should be administered with caution since when taken in excess it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemarrhena_asphodeloides
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Anemarrhena+asphodeloides
http://www.nature-s-health.com/products/theproduct1.asp?pid=218&cid=1
http://saludbio.com/imagen/anemarrhena-asphodeloides-mtc

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