Herbs & Plants

Gastrodia elata

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Botanical Name : Gastrodia elata
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus: Gastrodia
Species: G. elata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Tien Ma

Habitat :Gastrodia elata is found in Nepal, Bhutan, India, Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyuushu ), North Korea, Siberia, Taiwan as well as mainland China (Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Shanxi, Shanxi, Gansu, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Tibet) grow at elevations of 400–3200 meters at the edge of forest . It grows in symbiosis with the fungus Armillaria mellea on rotting wood, depending on the hypha of the fungus to invade the root system so that the plant can absorb nutrients from A. mellea.
Gastrodia elata is a perennial orchid plant.The plant has an 8-12 centimeters long elliptical underground rhizome with a diameter of 3-5 centimeters but may grow up to 7 centimeters. The stem is erect with a height of 0.3-1 meter up to 2 meters, the orange yellow, tan, cylinder, and leafless….CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowered pale olivine or the orange red, the scape is length 5-30 centimeters, longest may be 50 centimeters. Floral Bractsare long lanceolate, length 1-1.5 centimeters; Pedicel and ovary of branch 0.7-1.2 centimeter, slightly short in colored bract; The sepal and the petal produce a slanting pot shape perianth tube, the perianth tube long the approximately 1 centimeter, the diameter 5-7 millimeters, The labellum white, circular, with a length of 6-7 millimeters and width of 3-4 millimeters, the tip 3 cracks, the base pastes the tight pistil column full terminal, has a pair of pulp callus, in the callus connection perianth tube. The pistil column length 5-7 millimeters, have the short pistil column foot.

Capsule each approximately 30, oval or but actually oval, length 1.2-1.8 centimeters, width 8-9 millimeters. The seed are most, 2 – 40,000 grains of each fruit, minimum, powdery. Flowering season June to July, fruit time July to August.

The herb is used in Traditional Chinese medicine and Sichuan cuisine.

A saprophytic herb, it is without green parts and is entirely dependant upon a fungus for its nutriment. This makes it very difficult to cultivate outside its native range. As well as its fungal host, it also requires a damp humus-rich soil in a sheltered woodland position. The plants are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c. This plant is becoming increasingly rare in the wild, due to over-collection as a medicinal plant. Methods of cultivating it have now been devised in China. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, into the plants natural habitat near existing colonies, or onto a bed of Quercus wood inoculated with the fungus Armillaria mellea (introduce this fungus into your land with extreme caution since it kills trees and there is no known preventative). The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant .
Edible Uses:     Root is eaten raw or roasted. Large

Chemical Constituents:
4-Hydroxybenzaldehyde and gastrodin can be found in the orchid Gastrodia elata. It also produces 2,4-Bis(4-hydroxybenzyl) phenol, gastrol, gastrodigenin and other related compounds.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antispasmodic; Aphrodisiac; Carminative; Cholagogue; Sedative; Tonic.

This species has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over 1,500 years. The root contains a number of phenolic compounds with medicinal actions. It is a sweet, acrid, herb that is analgesic, anticonvulsive, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, sedative and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of convulsive illnesses (such as epilepsy and tetanus), rheumatoid arthritis, vertigo and numbness associated with liver disharmony. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The stem is aphrodisiac and tonic.

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.